When something hits close to home, it affects us deeply. During the Advent and Christmas season, we journey through scriptures and rituals that are tender, heavy with emotion, and vulnerable. We carry the memories and truths of this season close to our hearts. Close to Home acknowledges the “already but not yet” tension of our faith: Emmanuel is with us, and yet, God’s promised day—our everlasting home—is not fully realized. It names our deep longing for God to come close to us.
The Advent and Christmas scriptures are rich with home metaphors and imagery. John the Baptist prophesies about the One who is to come, but reminds us that we are still wandering far from God’s promised day; his message hits close to home, especially for those experiencing inequity and oppression. After receiving the angel’s news, Mary retreats to Elizabeth’s home, seeking refuge and safety. Christ is born in the midst of a journey home, in a crowded dwelling amidst livestock and shepherds alike. The Magi travel far from home to pay homage to Christ, and, having been warned in a dream, they avoid Herod by traveling home another way. In these scriptures, home is both physical and metaphorical, something we seek and something we are called to build. Ultimately, God is our home and resting place. God draws near and makes a home on earth—sacred ground is all around us.
This is the ground we will occupy in the coming weeks as we wait and watch. You can join us in reading the Advent devotional as well. It's free and digital.I look forward to our journey, together, as we wait and watch together.
“Can you believe it's November already? Wow, where has this year gone? Time has a way of passing by quickly when we aren't looking, doesn't it? In some ways the past two years of pandemic- filled life have gone by incredibly quickly, and yet, so awfully slowly. This mont I want to keep my message short and sweet (less than a page, in fact). You'll see a theme of gratitude in Intern Lucy's message and in Council President Susan Hansen's message as well. I am grateful for you and for people who live out their vocation as persons of faith in daily life.
“Gratitude is also what I feel when I think about all that we've overcome, together. We have continued to be the church, right here, on the corner of Hales Mill and Springreen. I have, and will continue to pray for our shared ministry to be guided by the Spirit so that we might meet the needs of our congregation, community, and world through our actions. We are feeding hungry people, serving others, gathering clothing and essential needs for folks from Asbury to Africa.
We have also walked through a time of reflection and prayer and invitation to participate in the financial well-being of this congregation. The Share Our Abundance campaign was a big success on many fronts, not least of which the involvement of 35+ Lord of Life members in the logistical efforts to bring it to fruition. Our prayers led us to invite you to join in making a statement of intent for giving for our annual fund and debt reduction efforts. The last number I heard was that between these two aspects of the campaign we received intent responses well over $400,000! Of course, I want to thank Pat and Mike for their leadership, and the entire team for their work, but I also want to thank YOU! Each of us, through our commitment to God's call to our shared ministry through sharing our intentions to give, no matter how little or how much, joins in the work of the church that began two-thousand+ years ago and will far outlive us. So THANK YOU for giving to God's work with our hands, in this place, in this time, so that we might share the Good News of Jesus Christ more boldly and more fully as a congregation.
Blogging and believing. Some notes about a life of faith, answers to questions you ask, and musings about leadership in the church.