Weekly Message

Greetings from the Crossing (February 16, 2017)

What is happiness? What is worry? And where, in all this, is God?

When I think of a perfect world, the first thing I see in my mind’s eye are happy people. People smiling, and laughing, and enjoying their time here on this earth. Happiness is a wonderful and meaningful state of being. However, for most people- myself included, my anxiety over happiness doesn’t make me happy at all. Instead, I get caught in a self-induced panic- “Am I happy?” “Am I happy enough?” and “Am I as happy as my neighbor” all clog my mind until there simply isn’t any room left for happiness to eke out its happy existence.

There are a million products and advertisements that suggest to me that I’m not the only one who can tend to feel this way. Infomercial salesmen and self-help gurus convince us that the only way to be happy is to read a certain book, eat a certain way, or do a certain activity- and all at the convenient price of $39.99. We chase an empty promise- and in doing so, most of the time get empty results.

It seems that chasing happiness as an end goals makes us, ironically, unhappy. So, what makes us happy? I argue- happiness is a byproduct, not a goal. Happiness is something that happens when we are living in the Holy Spirit, and when we are seeking God’s Kingdom here on earth. It’s a gift; a byproduct that happens when we reach into ourselves and use the gifts God has given us; to help, to create, to serve, to listen, to learn, and to love.

I would also argue- it is ok not to feel happiness all the time. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” When God sent his son to earth he had him feel the full range of human emotion. Jesus was happy, but he was just as subject to human rushes of anger, fear, and sadness as we are. Jesus even wept. Happiness is a gift, but in many ways, so are our entire ranges of human emotion. That, more than anything, is our gift- the gift of being human, made in the images of God.

God tells us not to worry- if he takes care of the lilies of the field, he’ll take care of us. God will take care of us, and in turn, we are to give up our own worries and instead of focusing on tomorrow, focus on him. As difficult as it is for us to practice in our day to day lives, we have to believe that God will take care of our needs- both emotional and physical. He’ll clothe us, but he’ll also give us happiness when we need happiness. He may give us sadness when we need a time to grieve. He may even give us friends, counselors, and resources when we’re in dark and scary places within our own minds. He sees our needs and he gives us what we need, in his time, and his wisdom.

The world is full of empty “quick fixes” that promise happiness. Don’t be fooled by these. Don’t chase happiness. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Instead, follow God.


Crossing Calendar

Check our calendar or our Facebook page. Some of our activities (Bible Studies, service outings . . . ) are still being scheduled, so watch for more information in this message, on Facebook, on our website, or at Sunday Vespers.

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Crossing Shout Outs . . .

Vespers Weekly Worship   
Meets Sundays at 5:00 pm
Free student meal follows at 6:00 pm
YOU are welcome — please join us!

Weather Cancellations
It is winter in Wisconsin and that could mean we will need to cancel activities.  We will post any cancellation on social media. If Vespers is cancelled, we will also send out an email to those who are on our Weekly Message List Serve (if you get the Weekly Message in your inbox each week, then you are on this list serve).


Worship at First Congregational UCC on Breeze Terrace
Sunday, February 19th, 10:00 a.m.
Come join student leaders from the Crossing as they lead worship at this supporting congregation.  Then join us for a free chili luncheon at noon.

Game Night!  Friday February 24, 7-10 pm
Join other Crossing friends for snacks and fun! Drop in anytime between 7-10 pm!

Ash Wednesday Service, March 1st, 7-7:30 pm
A simple service of prayer, silence, Scripture reading and sharing the ashes (optional). Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. Join us for this special service and bring your friends.

Ski for Cancer, March 4, 2017
Do you enjoy tubing, skiing, or snowboarding? Come support the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Inc. by hitting the slopes at Cascade Mountain! All proceeds will go toward pediatric cancer research and we also get a major discount on tickets. All-day lift tickets are $35 (normally $60), all-day lift tickets plus rentals are $50 (normally $98), and all-day tubing tickets are $25. Additionally, bus transportation will be provided with various departure and return times throughout the day. Contact Kelly with questions or to sign up for this fun opportunity to support a good cause!

Spring Retreat — March 31-April 1
Watch for more information

Study at the Crossing
Monday – Thursday, 8:30 am – 8 pm;
Friday, 9 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday, 2 – 7:00 pm
Make the Crossing your place to study, relax, and hang out
Tables, couches, piano, Free Wi-Fi and snacks

Small Groups at the Crossing: 

Yarn Time Circle — Meets the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month from 3:30-4:45 pm.   Bring your yarn projects any Sunday and enjoy crafting with others.  For more information, contact Karla

Spiritual Exploration Circle — NEW TIME:  Mondays 4-5 pm.  For more information, contact Hope.

Student Activities Leadership Team — Meets alternating Sundays after Vespers and meal.  If interested, contact Brooklyn

Meditation Circle NEW TIME Fridays 4-5 pm.  New and seasoned meditators welcome.  We use the Christian practices of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina.  For more information, contact Karla

Queer Students of Faith LGBTQ+ Discussion and Support Group Meets every other Tuesday 6-6:45 pm  beginning February 28th (March 14, 28; April 11, 25; and May 9).  Led by Rev. Manny Santiago.  A safe space to learn, share experiences, find spiritual support and grow as a queer person of faith.  Students of all faith traditions are welcome!

Bible Study –  Re-Framing Jesus: A Progressive Perspective
NEW TIME:  Mondays 6-7 pm  If you have any questions,  contact Cody.

Interfaith Programming — Students from the Crossing, Hillel, and the Muslim Student Association are working with WUD to plan activities this Spring. Contact Jasmine.

Graduate Student Cider and Check-In 4-5 pm on first Sundays of month. For more information, contact Karla

Community Shout Outs . . .

Chaperones needed for High School work trip to Denver Urban Matters
Saturday June 17 – Sunday June 25th.
One of the Crossing’s supportive congregations is offering this trip and looking for chaperones.  The group will work in a wide range of service areas – homeless families and day camps, “soup kitchens”, food distribution centers, possibly painting homes for elderly/disabled, work in shelters etc.  There’s some evening programing concerning poverty and homelessness.  Then they will go whitewater rafting on their recreation day.  If you are interested, contact Chuck Tennessen.

“Black Joy: Getting B(l)ack to Happiness”
With longstanding and recent social/political happenings
regarding people of color, the Black History Month Student Planning committee notes that it is important to promote self-care as a radical act. Amalgamating culture, health & healing, and a hands on approach of social interaction, we are encouraging students, faculty, and staff to reclaim their joy by taking part in the celebration of this month.
All events are Free and Open to the public unless noted.
We hope you ALL come celebrate with us!

Relief from Trauma, with Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)
Free presentation and a short chair-based practice, withTCTSY Facilitator Clare Norelle.  7 pm Wednesday February 15th 2017 at Threshold, 2717 Atwood Ave.
To register
Trauma Center Trauma-Senstive Yoga,
Small group sessions for women*
7-8:15 pm Wednesdays March 1-May 10
$225/10 sessions; partial scholarships available
To learn more or to register: clarenorelle@mac.com
*6 – 8 people who identify as women

Slow Food UW
Meets in the lower level of the Crossing
Serves during the semesters (closed during breaks)
Monday Family Dinner Nights 6:30 pm
Wednesday Cafe. 11:30 – 2:00   For more information

Tergar Meditation Community
Tuesdays from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Crossing — all year round.
Under the guidance of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Tergar Madison holds a weekly drop-in meditation group, as well as periodic retreats, workshops, and classes on meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. Please join us!

Bulletin Board
Check our website bulletin board for additional opportunities


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