Growing in God's Love as an Open, Caring Community

Cross Words by The Rev. Myrick Cross

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“On the first Sunday of Advent the church says, Look! Keep awake! Face your profoundest fear, and then, my Love, I have something wonderful to show you!” Suzanne Guthrie writes in her blog.

The first Sunday of the Christian year begins with thunder and lightening and cataclysmic predictions of the end of time, from Luke’s Gospel reading. Hardly a warm, friendly welcome to newcomers or visitors to our worship seeking to sing familiar carols and hear the story of the sweet baby Jesus! Parallel to the inescapably violent Christian journey through Holy Week as the one-way road to resurrection, Advent is about the reality of darkness and fear, as precursor to the baby in swaddling clothes.

One thing that attracted me to the Episcopal Church is the straight talk about life and death. Evil and the powers of darkness are named in Baptismal vows.  We confess not loving our neighbors as ourselves. And we acknowledge the darkness surrounding the first steps of the trek toward the manger and our potential new birth – in darkness.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is plenty of darkness out there. I don’t need to remind you. But what a great opportunity this season of watching and waiting is to pay attention to the forces of evil and darkness. Don’t fall asleep listening to the nightly news or reading the newspaper. Stay awake! Create a prayer list of those situations that speak to your heart where there is need for healing. Local, national, international. The point is to be assertive over darkness. And don’t give up. We wait for new life, for God to enter the dark places in our troubled lives and world, and to slowly bring the light of Love that transforms and recreates human life and the planet.

“The Way of Love” which our Presiding Bishop has ignited will support this season of intention and focused change. The suggested readings and personal disciplines of prayer and reflection can be a gift to you and our community of faith.

Beyond our natural fear of evil and failure and death, awaits “something wonderful,” as Guthrie writes. But we start in the reality of darkness. Remember, you are not alone.

 

Shalom,

Rick