Friday, December 5, 2014
When I listen closely to congregational life, I hear over and over again how faith is strengthened through relationships - in the sharing of the work of the church. The work becomes the actions that move us outward and forward. This is a true labor- as it takes time, effort and generosity. In the season of Christmas we naturally feel a greater awareness of what we might offer in these ways.
All together we come to appreciate the love that defines us and moves us.
The very first words of the Gospel of Mark immediately invite us into God’s dynamic work among us: The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The events, encounters and conversations told in the Gospel will draw us into many dimensions of participation.
And the quality of this participation is one of great hope!
John the Baptist is first on the scene and already has us looking forward to the coming of the One who is more powerful than he. We feel moved to be expectant and watchful, ready for change. We are to be awake to actions that are beyond our own and full of promise. Even Mark’s reference to the prophet Isaiah’s words from the past serve the message of expectation: Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings… say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God.”
While the traditions of the season might comfort us with the familiar, the message of Advent reminds us that Jesus who came continues to come to be among us for the sake of the well- being of the world. Might we be enlivened with hope in such a way that we are eager to share in a good work among us? May we know that the accomplishment of this work is not solely dependent upon us? Might we know that the many inconspicuous labors offered to our neighbor truly matter and is the source of true joy?