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Boy Scouts Mon 7PM
Book Club 2nd Mon 5PM
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Choir Thurs 6PM
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  Sunday Worship 8 & 10:30AM (Nursery available)
  Adult Sunday School 9:15AM



A Light in the Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

Immigrants by the hundreds of thousands flee the poverty, violence and famine of Africa and hundreds drowned in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Refugees by the thousands flee a Syrian civil war in which “civilian” is no longer a distinction when it comes to what is targeted and bombed. Hospitals and rescue workers are targets of Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies. The destruction of the rebel stronghold in Aleppo has shown the violent extremes that a dictator will use to maintain a grip on power. Similarly, ISIS, with the shrinking of its caliphate through defeats on the battlefield, has caused it to direct terrorist violence into Europe and the United States. Once again showing how those with power will go to any lengths to maintain it.

Anti-immigrant views are increasingly popular with the public and politicians who raise fears that not all those who flee the violence are victims, but may be carriers of that same terrorist violence into our society as well. Calls for tighter borders, more police, more security, fences and walls to keep the those people out are more common in our politics and more victorious in elections these days. These are dark and fearful times.

But our present darkness is not any darker than it was some two thousand years ago, for two weary travelers seeking some shelter for the night in a town called Bethlehem. They face the brutal occupation of the Roman Army whose soldiers routinely extorted money from civilians to augment their meager wages. They faced betrayal by the tax collectors, Jewish collaborators who used the threat of death by a Roman sword to extract as much money as possible from the population. Their leaders could hardly put up much resistance as they would quickly be deposed and disposed of and replaced by leaders more willing to cooperate with Rome.

The world of Joseph and Mary was cold, dark and frightening. And when King Herod heard of the possibility of a prophesied usurper being born, he chose to slay all the infants and toddlers of Bethlehem rather than allow this prophecy to come true. An angel in a dream warns Joseph of Herod's murderous intent and Joseph and Mary flee with their newborn son.

And this is God's radical plan for the world: Emmanuel - God with us. God comes to humankind, not on storm clouds with lightning flashing, not with the spectacle of flying like Superman and destroying his opponents with lasers beaming from his eyes, our God comes in the form of an weak and innocent child, not to bully or intimidate human beings into obedience but to love us into returning that love to God and to each other.

Not much of a plan you might say given our greedy appetites for the pleasures of the flesh, and to grab more than our share of the abundance the earth provides and our insatiable drive to bend others to accommodate our own self-interest. And you'd be right. It isn't much of a plan. But it is God's plan.

Joseph and Mary's son grew up and the light of his life grew strong and powerful. It grew so powerful that the forces of darkness tried to extinguish his light from the world. For three days, these forces thought they had succeeded. But they had not.

In the end his light became dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, the millions of little lights in this world. While it is clear that darkness still covers our world, it is also clear that Emmanuel's light of love, compassion & peace pushes against the darkness and brightens and beautifies our world.

Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your God in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

Merry Christmas & God bless us - Everyone!

Jeff+






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© June 2016 by The Rev. Jeff Douglas


St. Thomas is a vibrant, welcoming, Christian community cultivating mind, body & spirit through worship, fellowship, and service, loving our neighbors as ourselves

The Rev. Jeff Douglas, Rector

Our Staff:
       Parish Secretary
       Julie Bazemore
       Musician:
       Jonathan Johnston
Our Vestry:
       Claudia Griffin,Sr. Warden
       Michael Steczak, Jr. Warden
       Brenda Hewitt,Clerk
       Ernie Carter,Treasurer
       David Simons
       Fred Liverman
       Rob Outland
       Martie Tayloe
       Dr. Charles Sawyer
       Buddy Jones

Parish Commissions:TBA
       
If you would like to volunteer or have ideas about how St. Thomas' can have a more effective ministry in these areas, contact the appropriate person and make St. Thomas' ministry even better.