We continue our discussion about our new Strategic Plan this month by continuing to explore what this plan is inviting us to do. This month, we focus on “Everywhere and Always.” While “Radical” is a difficult word for some, Everywhere and Always are more easily understood and accepted as ingredients in our faith. We know as Christians we are called to love God and love each other Everywhere and Always. And we also know it’s really hard to do and that we all fall short.
No matter what though, God keeps loving us Everywhere and Always. In this way, Everywhere and Always serve to both assure us of God’s love and to challenge us to deliver it.
So, how can we honor this expansive and timeless giving and receiving of love? We can practice. We can look for reminders of God’s unfailing love for us and we can seek reminders of our call to love others. During the month of December, we offer a new 7-Day Challenge to get more comfortable with the Everywhere and Always parts of our new Strategic Plan.
While you’re doing it, feel free to share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and with each other whenever you have the chance.
1. Complete any six of these items on any six days you choose during the month of December.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to get centered, then repeat the St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer (see below for that prayer) as often as you need to remind you that Christ is with you Everywhere. Feel free to add hand gestures.
- If you didn’t pick up an Advent Bag at the church, download this year’s Advent Devotional from the Plymouth website, Maya Angelou and the Freedom Poetry of Advent, and try to follow the weekly program and practices outlined in the booklet.
- Set up an Advent Wreath at home and light the candles during worship or when using the Maya Angelou and the Freedom Poetry of Advent devotional to remind you that hope, peace, joy and love are available to us Everywhere and Always.
- Download the recipe for Angel Eyes cookies from the Plymouth website and bake them to share with a neighbor or someone who could use some cheer and a reminder of God’s love this season.
- Do an internet search for “Nichole Nordeman Legacy” and listen to this beautiful song as an expression Always.
- Attend the Nativity Seen event for all Plymouth members on Zoom on Sunday, December 13 at 6 p.m.
- Attend the Longest Night drive-through service at Plymouth on Monday, December 21 at 6 p.m.
- Attend one of the special Caroling or virtual concerts offered by Plymouth during December. You can download an Advent Calendar from the website or check the Events page for details.
- Prepare for 2021 by subscribing to or purchasing a daily devotional to use everyday next year. (See below for suggestions).
St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Daily Devotionals for Everyone
A great way to stretch toward Everywhere and Always is to find a daily dose of inspiration such as the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) Still Speaking Daily Devotional which is available as a free daily email by subscribing at: https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional.
If you prefer a book format you can try:
- From the United Church of Christ: God is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotions by Christina Villa
- From local author, Joyce Rupp: Anchors for the Soul or Fragments of Your Ancient Name
- Or a year of poetry: A Poem for Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri
- Or a year of music (you need to have Apple Music): Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill
2. For the seventh day take a rest or sabbath.
Make space for an intentional break from your work, worries, stresses, or perfectionism. Make the duration whatever length of time would feel like a true sabbath: five minutes, an hour, half a day or a whole day. Unlike God, we need to rest and recharge to be more loving.