Dear Partners in Mission:
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence.” Isaiah 64:1-9
On Advent 1 we heard the prophet Isaiah plead for God’s action. Come God and tear open the heavens, make your presence known to us. And this presence is not necessarily good news. The presence of God will again reveal the people’s iniquity. The second use of the law will hold up a mirror to them and demonstrate how they have strayed. Yet the good news of God’s mercy is also proclaimed. The prophet cries out again “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter.” The appeal to the covenant with Abraham is made. The reminder of God’s good, not perfect, creation, God’s people. Sin has separated the people from God, their suffering has been real. Yet the prophet proclaims again to both the people and God that God is a God of new things. Of restored relationship.
This is how Advent 2020 has begun and I believe the prophets words speak clearer to us today than before. The reality of death cannot be denied. The real griefs and sufferings from pandemic and its consequences. Yet despite all these griefs Advent has come. A new church year has begun. A year that has already brought us new things and will continue to challenge us to do new things. Particularly as we prepare Christmas when again we will lead and be led to do things in new ways. To help resource and center you in this time we are offering a variety of resources and events:
- Please read my blog on Christmas in Covidtime 2020 as you finalize and execute your plans for Advent/Christmas worship.
- Consider a special gift in Christmas/Epiphany towards our partners in the ELCSL.
- Participate in our NT-NL Synod Online Longest Night/Blue Christmas service (note date and time: MONDAY DEC 21, 7pm).
- Recorded sermons for Christmas and for the first Sunday after Christmas (Dec 27th) will be posted by Dec 8th.
Given all we have experienced this year there is an understandable desire to run to the comforts of Christmas. There is absolutely no shame in that and in my house the decorations have gone up early this year. Yet I believe taking time for Advent is more important for us than ever this year. In the midst of pandemic we must take time to learn again how to wait and to work while we wait. We keep awake and alert to signs of God’s presence amongst us and opportunities to serve our neighbors along the way. We wait purposefully, looking towards the one who is coming, but not missing this world and our opportunities to serve along the way.
In Advent Waiting: