On Sunday, I displayed photos of an early-morning sunrise as an image for Advent—in the disorienting darkness of our days, we reorient ourselves to the coming of Jesus, the rising Son. This invites us to interject a “thrill of hope” into our thinking and into our conversations, as we pray hope-fully, wait hope-fully, and live hope-fully.
I enjoyed one particular moment of hope-full reorientation this week. At the beginning of our Tuesday staff meeting, we set an Advent Wreath in the middle of the table, and wondered together through the Advent liturgy that we gave to the congregation this past weekend. As we shared aloud our responses to the prompts, we were encouraged by the way our hope in the coming Jesus re-formed our thinking for the rest of the meeting, the day, and the week. I encourage you to take time to light your Advent Wreathes, if you haven’t done so already!
On the upcoming Second Sunday of Advent, we will reflect on how the coming of Jesus brings peace into our lives, and into our world. The readings at first glance don’t seem particularly peace-full, but remember that biblical peace – shalom – is much more than the absence of conflict. As I often quote, shalom is “the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight” (Cornelius Platinga). Sin has rent that webbing, and it will require the rending of Jesus to restore what has been lost. Biblical peacemaking is a fiery ordeal, but the result is that,
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky. (Psalm 85:10-11)
I also want to share how encouraging it was to watch as our Immanuel family came forward and filled the basket with their pledge cards, this tangible expression of our generous response to God’s generosity to us. Thank you! If you have not yet handed in your pledge card, please mail it in to the church office, or place it in the offering plate on Sunday. And remember that online giving is an option now as well!
Please note in The Weekly the worship services offered December 24 – January 7. There are several changes with regard to time, children’s ministry, and our nursery.
Your Pastor in Christ,