Each day Thanksgiving grows closer, the numbers of Covid-19 cases multiply. The Center of Disease Control is now urging all Americans to rethink their Thanksgiving plans. A crushing thought, because we are just so tired of living apart, and yet, we still feel an obligation to keep those we love safe and to flatten the curve as global citizens.
The holidays will indeed be different this year. But different, as we have found at United Christian Church, doesn’t have to mean less meaningful -- so many of you these past months have told me you’ve been surprised at how meaningful online worship has been to you.
Even so, there is still something about embodied worship: like breaking bread around a table or standing to pray in a sacred space. We are a people of the incarnation after all! For this reason, your church will be offering two safe ways for you to have a meaningful and embodied holiday season this year, even amid viral spread.
First, this Thanksgiving Thursday at 6 PM, you are warmly invited to participate in a Virtual Thanksgiving Feast, modeled after our popular Maundy Thursday Feast earlier in the pandemic. You may log on for all our part of the Thanksgiving Communion liturgy followed by breakout discussion dinner parties. Though we may have fewer chairs at our tables this year, we will fill our homes with our church family as together we physically light the candles, set out the plates, wash our hands, and break the bread. For more information about our virtual feast and to see the “discussion menu,” go to uccaustin.org/thanksgiving.
And just the day before Thanksgiving, (in addition to hosting our first Advent at the Movies Zoom Discussion at 7PM on The Muppet Christmas Carol led by Meghan Trout) we will also be posting our first station of our Advent Stations of the Nativity, authored by Rev. Elsa Cook. Two paths of yard signs will be posted on church grounds for your devotion throughout the season of Advent through Epiphany: a shorter purple way along paved pathways, and a longer blue path through the outdoor sanctuary. Each stop on this walking devotional includes a yard sign with a scripture reading, reflection, prayer, hymn and an action. New stops will be introduced via livestream Wednesdays and Sundays for the longer path, and on Sundays only for the shorter path. More information is available at uccaustin.org/stationsofthenativity. We warmly invite you to come and pray over these stations whenever and as often as you wish.
Friends, love came down at Christmas, incarnate in a human child. We too are incarnate beings, who yearn for human connection and to touch holiness, especially during the holidays. So I hope you will join your church family in these embodied practices this Thanksgiving and Advent.
Peace be with you,