“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it” -- Isaiah 43:18-19a
Advent is upon us. This is a time of preparation and a season of waiting for our Messiah to come. We await the Christ child in the familiar Christmas story. Why do we wait so expectantly? Every year we know what happens in the story, but do we ever allow the story and our lives to converge. This is a season of hope, expectancy, waiting, and advent in our Church.
In the month of November we are going to focus on fearlessness in worship. This topic is so timely as we hear about the increase of violence not only around the world but in our own neighborhood and the increase of widespread illness. There are certainly enough voices around us telling us that it is time for us to be afraid. The uncertainty of the future can make us feel like we are out of control.
For the last month, this church has been studying together what it means to be the church. It can be far too easy to get lost in the mess of expectations for what the church should be and what it should be doing. Some might say the church should exist to help others, both near and far. Some might say the church should exist to build people up in faith and send them out to witness. Some might say the church should exist to teach the way of Jesus to children and youth. Some might say the church should be about reconciliation, standing against injustice, or restoring broken communities.
“We indeed have neither a new church nor any new laws. We only want to remain in simplicity and true faith in the original church which Jesus founded… If we remain in the teaching of the New Testament, we expect this outcome, namely, that the fulfillment of our faith will be eternal life… We cannot testify for our descendants—as their faith is, so shall be their outcome.”
~ Alexander Mack (founder of the Church of the Brethren) from “Basic Questions”
For more than two decades, August has meant only one thing to me: school. When August came, I knew that school was right around the corner with only a couple more weeks to squeeze in that summertime relaxation. Come August, the store aisles become lined with pencils, notebooks, calculators, and binders. Those items used to make me cringe as my last few weeks of freedom began to fade away. The beginning of August was a dreaded time, but soon enough school would start back up and the normal rhythms of life would resume.