In the first episode of The Chosen, Mary Magdalene is shown in the throes of her struggle with the demons that had taken possession of her life. As she descended deeper and deeper into that horror, she decided in a lucid moment when the demons were not controlling her that she did not want to live that way any longer. So she headed to a cliff at the edge of Lake Galilee. But as she stood there tempted to end her suffering in one rash act, she heard a fluttering sound above her. When she looked up, she saw a dove. The dove circled her and darted in the direction of town. Then it returned, and did the same thing several more times. As Mary watched it, she seemed to feel it was trying to lead her somewhere. So she followed it away from the cliff. The episode then shifted to another part of the storyline. But after that scene, the focus of the episode shifted back to Mary. She was sitting in a tavern in town – but still distraught. Then the miracle occurred.
8AM – Traditional Service 9:30AM – Contemporary Service
Over the four Sundays of Advent this year, we moved through a worship series based on the Dr. Seuss classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. At the same time, the children in Sunday School watched a modern version of it. And while the graphics in that new version were better than the original, and there was more storyline, it had the original plot lines. As the story opened, for instance, the children were told “every WHO down in WHOville liked Christmas a lot… but the Grinch who lived just north of WHOville…did NOT.” They were told “whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,” the Grinch would get to Christmas Eve each year and stand at the edge of his cave on Mt. Crumpit “hating the Whos.” And they were told that after the Grinch put his “wonderful awful idea” to steal Christmas into action, he had a revelation that “maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store; maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”
In the book God Laughs, William Goodwin tells the story of how he once sang in a choir for a short time. And it was a short time because at his 3rd rehearsal he was the only baritone present. Part of the way through the rehearsal, the choir director said to him “Let’s hear the baritone.” So William belted out a verse of the hymn they were practicing. The director then turned to the rest of the choir, and said “let’s try it without the baritone.” Which they did. After practice, the director took William aside. Then she put her arm around him and said, “What this church needs are more ushers.” Which is how William became an usher.