THE BEACON: CELEBRATING KNEELING IN THE THE SAME LOCATION FOR 150 YEARS!
"This is the Lord's Table and ALL are Welcome!" Fr. Gary Bradley

OUR PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS & BEYOND --
Ten measures of beauty God gave to the world,
Nine to Jerusalem, one to the rest
Ten measures of sorrow God gave to the world,
Nine to Jerusalem, one to the rest.
So pray for the peace -- pray for the peace
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Pray for the peace -- pray for the peace
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
You can greet your friends with the word "shalom"
Or you can greet the with "salaam"
But peace itself will never come
Till there's justice for everyone
And there can be no peace for the Jew
Till there's peace for the Palestinian too. (Refrain)
May the justice of God fall down like fire
And bring a home for the Palestinians
May the mercy of God pour down like rain
And protect the Jewish people
May the beautiful eyes of a holy God
Who weeps for all his children
Bring healing hope for his wounded ones
For the Jew and the Palestinian (Refrain)

Ever since we made Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2004, this song has served to continually remind us of our commitment to work for Peace WITH Justice in the Holy Land. It was written by The Rev. Canon Garth Hewitt, an Anglican priest from Great Britain, and is a signature song sung by The Rev. Canon Fuad Dagher, Rector of COS's Sister Parish in the Galilee.

As of Monday, December 4, this song has become even more important and meaningful to us. This is because President Trump made what we believe to be an egregious mistake in announcing unilaterally the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel AND his intention to move the U.S. embassy there. The push back from around the world has been instantaneous and in some places violent. Tragically, some of the worse responses have been in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem in neighborhoods we know very well. So, in these early days of Advent, we find ourselves singing this over and over again; and we hope some of you, particularly our fellow Pilgrims, will commit to joining us in this musical prayer.

For the record and for your edification, the source of this violence in the Holy Land comes not from the peacefully protesting Muslim and Christian Palestinians but from the "only democracy" in the Middle East's Occupying police and army. Those of you who might be inclined to challenge the truth of the above statement first might want to check any one of the following facebook pages: +972 Magazine, Palestine Will Be Free, Eye On Palestine, If Americans Knew, EPF Palestine Israel Network, or I Do Support Palestine. If you have the courage to view the reality being shown on any one of these sites, your view of the Israeli / Palestinian Conflict will change forever. AND YOU, TOO, WILL PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM!

If you would like to hear Canon Garth Hewitt singing his song, google "Garth Hewitt --Ten Measures of Beauty...". The performance is four minutes long and was performed in Managua, Nicaragua. OR, go to Sue Smock's facebook page, and you will see a recording of Fr. Fuad singing in a video recorded by Gabe Vazquez-Reyes and Carrie Voris in Allan Hall during his recent visit.

A PERSONAL STATEMENT RELEVANT TO THE HOLY LAND: ADVENT 2017 -- As noted, some will disagree with my criticism of Israel's Occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, but Sue and I feel compelled to speak out even though it probably is already too late. In our judgement, the reality is that we mainstream Christians in the West have been silent about what is happening in the Holy Land for far too long. While denominations on the right and most other religions are most vocal when it comes to protecting the integrity of their heritage and holy places, we in the mainstream mostly accept whatever happens without a peep.

How can we remain silent while Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is not only surrounded by a 30 foot Wall BUT ALSO is invaded every single day by Israeli police and armed forces. Recent incursions included the storming of the Deheshe and Aida Refugee Camps, both places where we have been welcomed as visitors. Daily harassment also is prevalent in Nazareth and brutal behavior is escalating in East Jerusalem. Again, view for yourself the violent police actions at the Damascus Gate and on Salah Adin Street near St. George's Cathedral. Then, consider speaking up. Otherwise, consider yourself to be an accomplice when the last Christian locks the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, turns over the keys to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and leaves the Holy Land forever. You can also forget about going to Bethlehem to the Church of Nativity because the Israeli Occupation Forces will not allow you to pass through Check Point 300.  

THE RENAISSANCE FAMILY -- Yet again, a full Grace Chapel was blessed to hear a highly informative analysis of three Advent Hymns presented by the Kilian Clan and Friend. The Master of Ceremony was Paul, assisted by Gloria on the organ and their daughter, grandchild, son and a friend as readers. Paul presented highly researched historical and biblical background under the title of "Christmas Carols of A Self-Emptying God". The hymns that Paul reviewed and that we then sang were "Wonder As I Wander", "Royal David's City" and "What Child Is This?". As he always does on these occasions, Paul accompanied us with his trombone, a perfect compliment to Gloria's organ music. I, for one, have a new appreciation for the importance of the trombone at Christmas time!

ANOTHER KILIAN MUSICAL GIFT -- In case you missed them OR you want to hear more, you can join us at the Monthly SAGES Luncheon on DECEMBER 21 @ 12:30 in Cleaver Hall. After a wonderful lunch prepared by Bev and Jerry Harris and Linda Goluskin, Paul and Gloria will lead us again in a number of traditional Christmas Carols. What better way to ease into the Christmas weekend? All are welcome; we do not have a minimum age requirement. However, we would appreciate a RSVP to Linda at lindagoluskin@aol.com OR 626-999-7335. 

"I VISITED YOU IN PRISON, AND..." -- The Community of Divine Love Monks are in constant motion, and last Saturday was no exception. They joined together with The Rev. Gwynne Guibord of The Guibord Center -- Religion Inside Out, an outreach non-profit focused on interfaith dialogue, to sponsor a gathering of prison chaplains from the Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions. Based on the pictures posted on facebook, this appeared to have been a highly successful event which brought additional recognition to the work of our "monks behind bars".    

SUNDAY AFTER SUNDAY -- There are many reasons why we find the 10:00 Service so rewarding, and one of the most compelling is the music produced by our incredible Choir under the guidance of Canon Phil Smith. This week was no exception, and we were particularly moved by The Offertory Hymn "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus". Absolutely beautiful!!!

To hear more from our exceptional and dedicated Choir AND show your support, please, please, please consider attending next Sunday's "AN ADVENT PROCESSION: LESSONS AND CAROLS" -- DECEMBER 17 @ 4:00 PM.  

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