On the longest night of the year, we will gather for a special “Blue Christmas” service. On Wednesday, December 22, at 7:00 p.m., we create space for grief and healing in this annual tradition of Blue Christmas. On the night when the darkness is the greatest, we will enter it and find beauty.
People of faith too often feel pressure to find only joy in Christmas. but the messiness and reality of life reminds us that there is often pain this time of year. In fact, there are things about the Christmas season that sharpen the pain of loss, grief, anxiety, and depression. This service is a chance to speak to this truth.
The service will last about 30 minutes. There will be a time for quiet prayer, music, reflection, and a ritual for healing that will create something beautiful. The piece that we create will be a part of the Christmas Eve atmosphere on Friday at 4:00 p.m., when we celebrate the coming of Christ in worship.
On every Wednesday night during Advent, Pastor Robb will share a short vespers service. Vespers is the ancient tradition of evening prayer. The service will take place in the sanctuary after bell choir rehearsal, which usually ends at 7:00. The Vespers will include a time of prayer and reflection, a Psalm song, a reading from our daily All the Good Devotional, and Communion. The service should take between 30-40 minutes, and be over well before 8:00. The theme for each week will follow along with our Advent themes of Prepare with Hope, Praying for Peace, Care with Joy, and Do in Love.
This Advent the whole church is invited to be a part of The Redemption of Scrooge. This worship series will be a fun trip through Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. We’ll meet all the familiar faces: Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Marley, and of course the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Each week will include the traditional hanging of the Chrismon on the tree, singing familiar Christmas carols and new tunes, and a dramatic Radio Theater presentation. Together we will move from “Bah humbug,” to “God bless us, every one!” In addition to the weekly sermon series, there are three small group opportunities to dig deeper in to Matthew Rawle’s book, “The Redemption of Scrooge.” Sundays at 10:45 in the Adult Class in Asbury Parlor, Mondays at noon in Epworth Hall, and Thursday evenings at 6:00 in Asbury Parlor.
Nov. 27 Bah, humbug
Dec. 4 The Remembrance of Christmas past
Dec. 11 The Life of Christmas present
Dec. 18 The Hope of Christmas future
Dec. 24 (at 6:30) Candlight and Communion Christmas Eve service
Dec. 25 God bless us, every one!
The Hanging of the Greens is a wonderful day in the life of Two Rivers Church. All are invited to come at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 20 to help transform the church for Advent. There trees to assemble, ornaments, wreaths, and greens to be hung, and candles to set out. It is a joyful day with work divided by many friendly hands. After all the work is done, we will go to Epworth Hall for a pot-luck dinner.
The Christmas Eve service at Two Rivers United Methodist Church in Rock Island, will be at 6:30 p.m. The gathering will include traditional carols, an invitation to ALL to come to the Lord’s Table, and the sharing of Christ’s light. The service, as always, will close with the beautiful rendition of Silent Night sung with the raising of the candles in the dark night. The light of Christ chases away the darkness.
Here is a reflection about Christmas Eve, written by Pastor Robb. “To those who only come on Christmas Eve, ‘Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.'”
The Blue Christmas service will be at 4:00 p.m. on December 22. This service is designed for those who are grieving. Grief takes many forms, and can be caused by many things. Grief can make it difficult to sing “Joy to the World,” for grief can drain the joy from our hearts.
The Blue Christmas service is a chance to name the grief, not to dwell in it. It is a chance for those who are hurting to know that they are not alone. Christmas is a time for joy, but the only path to true joy lies through authentically naming the fear, worry, and doubt that clouds our vision of Christ.
This service will include music, silence, a brief ritual, and Communion. It will end at sunset of the longest night of the year. Read a reflection written by our Pastor Robb on his blog.
Two Rivers Church is at 1820 5th Avenue in Rock Island. For more information, call the church office at 309-788-9384