Pastoral ponderings, Advent, 2013

   

Dear Friends,

          This time of year we Christians seek to explore, with joy and penance, certain implications of our core beliefs:

that, in terms of our faith, each of us can experience as profound a new life

   as Mary did,

that, by entering our world as a human being, the creator of the cosmos

   reveals a new sacredness in the physical universe, and in the redemption

   of its suffering,

and that, through our anticipation of the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s promise

   to return, time itself is shown to have a deeper sacred dimension of

   meaning.

 

The church, from its earliest days, has recognized that we need time to prepare our hearts and spirits for the renewal that such momentous claims of faith may bring.

The sacred readings assigned to the Advent season point out a possible direction that our preparations can take:

 

On December 1, Isaiah invites us to be peacemakers when he looks forward to the day when swords shall be beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks.

 

On December 8, Solomon calls us to defend the cause of the poor, and to give deliverance to the needy.

 

On December 15, Matthew’s Jesus, in mentioning the blind, the lame, and the deaf, emphasizes that his is a ministry of healing.

 

And finally, on December 22, the Psalmist recounts the importance of bringing hope to those who are imprisoned and bowed down in other ways.

 

In learning about and participating in these activities, we can not only align ourselves with traditional concerns and practices of Methodism as elucidated by Wesley himself, but we can prepare our faith to receive new life, we can be brought into closer contact with the pain of the world and its redemption, and we can intuitively come to feel a greater love and care at the heart of reality that we are invited to receive and emulate.

May our Advent preparations for Christmas help us prepare the ground for the coming of new depths of love in our own lives, in the life of our families, our congregations, our country, and our world.

Sincerely, in faith,

 

                                                                        Pastor Steve

 

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