Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. It’s easy to jump forward to the birth of the little baby Jesus and the star and the wise ones bearing gifts. We’ll soon be decorating our homes with twinkly, sparkly things and hear the golden voice of Johnny Mathis floating through the halls. But during Advent, we wait and we work.
This Advent, we as a church have a lot to do. We finally got our permit for the new building. There are still a couple of details to iron out, but we’ll be in next week. But it won’t all be done. We will be working over the next month and beyond to build our new home, to nest a bit. It is an opportunity to dream and bring those dreams into reality. As we do that, perhaps we can use the experience to think about what it means to create a place for God to come into the world.
And what does that presence mean in our lives? How do we see God? In what ways do we feel God’s presence? How do we experience our Advent themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love?
This week, we begin with Hope. Interestingly, it is still a time of judgment. The First Sunday of Advent is a day of reckoning that begins turning the world back toward justice. The world is ending and the world begins anew, but only if we wrestle with what has come before and how we ended where we are. Somehow, we find that hope arises out of tragedy and loss.
This is particularly critical as we watch the events unfolding in Ferguson. Something has clearly gone off the rails. Decades of disenfranchisement, of simmering distrust, of poverty and racial enmity, have boiled over. It’s easy to point at the looting and cluck our tongues. It’s much harder to ask how we each contribute to racial systems of power that are at the root of what is happening in Ferguson. If we asked those questions, we might be responsible. We might have to change. Whether we want it to or not, the day of judgment will come. Would we rather it come through introspection and prayer, through thoughtful decision-making that leads to transformation? Or through explosive violence that destroys the very communities that long for justice? Either way, the world has once again come to an end and so we will build something new. This is hope: that we will always be preserved to try again, to do a little better this time. Judgment turns to hope.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we talk about our hopes for our new church home, our hopes for who we become in that space, our hopes for bringing God into the world. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Grace & Peace,