I’m thinking about reconciliation today…Posted: December 9, 2013 Filed under: Bishop's Blog | Tags: 8th day, Advent, bill mcalilly, bishop, Christmas, eighth day faith community, faith, mcalilly, memphis, methodism, nashville, tennessee, UMC, united methodist 7 Comments
…it’s on my mind because this is Advent and we are on a journey to Bethlehem, a journey we take annually as a Church. There was a time when the Church began the season with a period of penitence and fasting. Perhaps these are practices that would serve us well in this current environment.
Have you ever wondered why purple is the liturgical color of Advent? It is to create a visual connection between Advent and Lent, the two periods of preparation for Jesus’ birth and death. For early Christians, it was essential to understand the link between the cradle and the cross—that Jesus came as the “Word made flesh.”
There will be great joy among us as we celebrate in our congregations in the coming days. We will celebrate the coming of Christ’s birth. Will we also hold before us the tension held within the reality that his life led to his crucifixion, resurrection and the promise of new life for all of us?
Kate Lasso, a member of the Eighth Day Faith Community suggests that during Advent we celebrate God’s invitation to reconciliation. To be reconciled to God is to be actively living what Jesus taught: Love God and love neighbor. Jesus’ invitation is also a call to discipleship.
Lasso continues: “The first ones to hear the news, and thus mark the advent of an age of reconciliation with God, were poor shepherds, some of the lowest ranking members of Jewish society. Their work made it impossible for them to observe the Jewish ceremonial laws and temple rituals, so they were considered religiously unclean and unacceptable. They weren’t considered trustworthy and were not allowed to give testimony in a Jewish court of law. They were social outcasts, yet they are at the heart of the joyous message—that Christ came for lowly shepherds, for all the forgotten people of the earth, for all of us.”
To be engaged in discipleship is to choose downward mobility. It is to take up one’s cross and follow daily our Leader. It is to be so in love with God that love for neighbor is the natural response. As you make preparations, make room. Make room in your heart, in your family, in your work, and in your re-creation. When you do, you will be ready for Christmas in the deepest places of your soul and you will be one with Christ and one with each other.
> The TN Conference Children & Families Ministry is publishing an excellent daily Advent devotional via email, CLICK HERE to subscribe – I recommend it!
I have to agree with your statement with this issue and egceaebcckce
What a great quote from Lasso and thanks for sharing it . Makes Advent have more meaning for me.
Thank you for giving me another perspective on what Christmas is really about. Christ came from heaven to the cross just to reconcile man to himself…If we have any stones unturned in our lives, now is the time for reconciliation.
Good words on a day spiraling down with a bad cold. I hope your journey has been fruitful. Still riding fast on my bicycle. Will lead my fourth capital campaign in 2014. I have found meaning in serving at Galloway’s inner city ministry. I go at least twice a month and lead W0rd and Table plus Several of our folk from Saint Marks are very invested. Hope you have time for holiday fun. Peace, Rob
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I clicked on the CLICK at the end of your message today to access the
Advent program of Tn Conf., but IE said there is a problem. Could you check that out and repost? All my family enjoys your blog, even if they are not Methodist!
Thank you for this invitation to reconciliation and downward mobility during Advent. I believe we are in living in a day and time when it is extremely to observe Advent as a way of showing the world something different from the materialism and commercialism of this season. I also visited the Eight Day Faith Community website and found it to be very interesting.
This year I learned that originally Advent was a 40-day period of penitence, fasting and self-examination like Lent. It was later changed to a 28-day period which, for some, lost its original meaning.