In This Issue
- Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
- Weekly Facebook Video
- Announcements & Upcoming Events
- Outreach Opportunities & Updates
Dear St. Luke family:
Thanksgiving is behind us, and we’re heading into Advent! Advent originally was a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the end of time and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. But there is not just one end to the world any more than there is just one coming of Christ to look forward to. In a manner of speaking, the world might end any day of the week for any of us with a grim diagnosis, a sudden accident, the death of a loved one, a debilitating injury, the loss of a job, or a notice of divorce.
When the heavens are shaken and the sea roars and the foundations of the earth split apart, our best hope is to keep looking for the coming of our Lord. But we don’t have to look far, because he’s already here. The Spirit of Christ is with us and for us and among us. Christ can’t fix all our problems or stop all our pain or replace all our losses, but he can walk with us through them. He can share the load and accompany us on the journey. Advent is when we pay attention to that.
Jesus chided the religious authorities of his day for their failure to see the signs of the inbreaking reign of God. He said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and the signs were healing broken bodies and bringing wholeness and peace to tortured souls who had been excluded, outcast, pushed to the margins. If we’re watchful, we, too, can see signs of God’s love all around us. If we’re alert and awake, we can see God’s love expressed in a thousand different ways. That’s the miracle of incarnation, which we celebrate at Christmas.
Our Advent theme this year is “Prepare the Way.” These words, spoken by the prophet Isaiah and quoted by John the Baptist, inspire us to ask, “How are we preparing the way for God’s reign?” How is St. Luke getting ready to welcome Christ afresh into our own lives and the lives of those we encounter? In particular, now that the Pastor Nominating Committee has announced that they have found a candidate to be your new pastor (although we do not yet know who he or she is), how might St. Luke prepare the way for new hope, new ministries, new life in Christ’s name? How might we help one another see the signs of hope?
We’ll observe Advent beginning this coming Sunday by lighting the Advent candles and hearing special music from Cassandra Mech and Beth Potillo-Miller. Thanks to the worship committee, the sanctuary will be festively decorated. Each week, we’ll look at ways to “prepare the way.” On the 19th, the choir presents their special Christmas music in worship. On Christmas Eve, we’ll celebrate by candlelight with lessons and carols.
Shortly after Christmas, I will be saying goodbye to the beloved saints of St. Luke. My last Sunday with you will be Epiphany Sunday, January 2. We’ll celebrate that day with “star words.” Each worshiper will receive a paper star with a word meant to inspire you, challenge you, and shape you in 2022. What a blessing to me that I get to introduce this spiritual practice as my parting gift and farewell! In the meantime, we’ll all be preparing the way for what God has in store for us.
Grace and peace,