Calvary is a special place with great preaching, wonderful music, an active laity, and a friendly and mission-focused congregation …
“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 column originally appeared in The Warren Sentinel on 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).
Sixth Sunday of Easter
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Fourth Sunday of Easter
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.