December 20, 2015

Pastor Letter

Advent greetings in the name of Christ!

As I wait for Christmas this season, as I anticipate the very incarnation of Christ, I feel so very much my longing for Jesus. This Advent, I find myself almost inundated by my own need for Jesus to come bursting into the world.

There is no doubt that recent violent events across our country and world have heightened my longing. Headlines speak of religious intolerance, vengeance and retaliative measures. Yet, retail markdowns and Christmas sales haven’t curtailed their own desperate efforts to grab our attention. It’s a violence all its own, I think. In fact, our system of commerce has only ramped up as the shopping countdown draws closer to its own end.

There seems to be an incongruity in our world between the desperate attempts to grab our attention and push us to action ... and the ones that actually do. Personally, I find myself caught in a space of push and pull; a place where what I know in my heart doesn’t seem to match what I see in my world. I know in my heart that God is desperate to grab our attention and help us see a path of peace, compassion, and love. I know in my heart that God works through us, and needs us to be the active agents and storytellers of the ways of Christ.

But, I also know that the shiny stories of the world are extremely distracting.

So, I am appreciative of the Advent season which brings an awareness to the darkness before God comes bursting forth in brilliant light on Christmas Eve. Yes, it is a dark time and Advent draws our attention to the darkness. But, as a people of Christ, we know that we are neither alone in the darkness, nor without partners on the journey.

This Advent, as a follower of Christ in the Wesleyan tradition, I am both praying for peace, and participating as I can in peaceful change. I am praying, reading, listening. I am working to share God’s voice and the ways of the Prince of Peace with our own church and with our community at large. How can we not only respond to the desperate, violent acts in our world, but how we can be a people who strive to live in ways that eliminate such desperation at its roots? How can we be a people who lament and mourn and a people who enact change in our system? How can we be a people who cry out at injustice, and strategize for justice?

As I struggle, myself, to find a response and be the response in our dark and shiny December, I invite the church to join me in prayer and practice. How will we be the ways of our Prince of Peace this season and in the seasons ahead?

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Melinda