I sensed the presence of God’s Spirit: in the patient anticipation of the waiting, in the kind helpfulness of the field hospital staff, in the powerful science that made a vaccine possible, in the intricacy of the human body that can take virus proteins and turn them into antibodies. I saw God’s fingerprints everywhere I looked.
The scripture goes on to state that repeating the same sacrifices year after year can’t be the solution, as the blood of bulls and goats can’t get rid of sin. Earlier in Hebrews, it says that this will only make you outwardly clean. Enter Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:14 says the blood of Christ will cleanse our whole lives, inside and out, from acts that lead to death. And, Christ only needed to be sacrificed once to to take away our sins forever (Hebrews 9:28)
There is a line that stuck with me: “People that hoard wealth and then give to the poor are not actually engaging in charity.” Most of the time, I give from my extra. I keep back what I need or may need in the future. I give from what I think I can live without.
When it came to questions of justice, I found it easy, due to my training, to dismiss people whose tone had any sense of anger. It took years of unlearning and gaining a realistic understanding of Jesus’ own anger before I could see how anger can fuel an appropriate Christian response. The apostle Paul certainly teaches and models this very approach.
When Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God, He challenges that perception. He takes a well-known image and offers an alternative picture: the Kingdom of God isn’t like huge cedars with eagles; it’s like a mustard plant with birds.
[January 6] was perhaps the most disturbing day in my life as a citizen of the United States.
Like the wise ones of old, we must be smart as serpents and innocent as doves in our navigation. Despite, and maybe even because of the cultural complexities around us, we are called to remain undaunted in our pursuit of truth.
Even in the dead of winter, amidst all the ice and snow, hope grows. Hope grows because we know Emmanuel has come to be with us. The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world has come. True righteousness and justice have come through Jesus. No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground because Emmanuel has come to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
As we walk through this time of Advent, I am particularly drawn to the idea of Advent as a journey of preparation. The turmoil of this year, with the coinciding stress and desire for the usual ways we celebrate, can distract from the WHO and WHY we celebrate.
During this advent season I challenge all of us to wait with hope. May we discover ways to stay engaged in God’s mission to liberate all of creation, for God’s kingdom to be on earth as it already is in heaven. How are you waiting?
It’s time to break the stigma of virtual gatherings. Here are some creative ways to make your virtual fellowships more fun and meaningful during this holiday season!
As a conference, when we focus on our priorities of being formational, missional, and intercultural, we will bear witness to a God who is just, compassionate, and cares for the poor and the vulnerable.
But Thanksgiving is not about me feeling blessed. It is about being thankful to God, in all circumstances.