Calvary is a special place with great preaching, wonderful music, an active laity, and a friendly and mission-focused congregation …
- Ecumenical Youth Fellowship
“As a place of tolerance and acceptance of others; the friendliness, love and support of our congregation ensures we will continue to remain an open and affirming place for everyone.”Vision 2020 excerpt
“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.” Isaiah 40:5
Advent is the liturgical season of preparation and expectation. In recalling the Biblical story, we remember that the long awaited coming of Christ was met with a mixed review! I often wonder how I would have responded to the person of Christ had I lived at that time, but, in truth, there is plenty of opportunity for me to respond to Christ, here and now!
Christ comes to us in our neighbor even though we may not recognize him, our neighbor or Christ! We are challenged by Christ’s words in the 25 Chapter of Matthew that this reminds us that when we have been loving or kind to our neighbors, we have been loving or kind to Christ.
This season is one which is especially difficult for many people. Those who lack material resources are acutely aware of what they don’t have and of the insensitivity of the world around them. Many people who have experienced loss or grief of any kind often feel that pain more keenly during this time. This, too, is Advent. During our Advent reflections, we tend to be most conscious of the joyful expectation of celebration of the coming of the baby Jesus and forget the difficult life our Lord would lead which included terrible rejection and, ultimately, execution on the Cross.
In reaching out in love to relieve the pain of our brothers and sisters, we can share in the action of Christ’s love first given to us. It is not easy to reach out because we may not know what to say or do. That is okay. Feeling uncomfortable is part of sharing Christ’s journey that began in a manger and ended on the Cross. Even Jesus mother, Mary, who took care of Jesus, followed him, and stood beneath the cross, could not find words to adequately express her feelings. The Gospel tells us that she “kept all of these things in her heart” while she painfully supported Him with her presence.
The suffering we confront may be someone in our own family who is in pain without our knowing it. We might pray that for this season we could be more sensitive to the needs and concerns of others and be less caught up in the “holiday” rush and more aware that, for some, this time may be difficult to endure.
In The Irrational Season, Madeleine L’Engle writes, “In the evening of life we shall be judged on love, and not one of us is going to come off very well, and were it not for my absolute faith in the loving forgiveness of my Lord I could not call on him to come.” We will always love imperfectly and in our own clumsy way, but, nonetheless, we are called to love one another and in doing so give glory to Christ.
May the coming of Christ into our lives be a blessed event now and always!
[This posting originally appeared as The Weekly Pulpit on the Religion page of The Warren Sentinel of December 3, 2015].
On November 1, 2015 – All Saint’s Day – the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (i.e., Washington National Cathedral).
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1 Kings 21:1-10, (11-14), 15-21a