Lent & Advent

Advent 2021: A Season Of Healing And Hope – December 14

Jim Hopkins

December 12, 2021

Grasp Disaster as an Opportunity to Share God’s Love

Rev. Dr. Charlotte W. Myers
(Rev. Dr. Charlotte W. Myers is minister to hospice patients, marginalized lay women’s missions and ministries, and advocate for ministerial collegial covenant groups. She is currently serving as Church Women United National Chair of Communications and President of the Northern California State Unit.)

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? To the Lord your God belongs the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations — as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:12-19 (NIV)

When we humble ourselves and open our hearts to the Word of God there is much to be gained. For a moment let us return to Israel at the time of the first Advent. There once was a very young girl living in the small village of Nazareth outside of the market-town of Sepphoris. An ordinary girl, not given to imagining, but very pious and sweet. Recently, she was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph, he knew her family and liked her gentleness. One night Mary had an extra-ordinary experience and saw an angel come to answer her prayers. The angel told her what to do and Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth to share the good news. Elizabeth greeted her with joy and “Mary said: ‘My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates my Liberator! For though I’m the Lord’s most humble servant, God has noticed me.’” (Luke 1:46-48) This is Mary’s, the Mother of Jesus, advent of the coming of Christ. This young girl celebrates what is seen by the world as shame and catastrophe by humbly proclaiming her faith that God is through this child doing something wonderful. She knows what no else knows, that God cares for and protects the broken hearted and disgraced. Lifting them above their circumstances. That Christ is come to us through her woundedness and humility.

Let us continue to hear of a more contemporary Advent of Christ’s appearing and living among us through words spoken by Allison Tanner*. Words that celebrate and acknowledge the power of the Word of God to enlighten us and answer our questions. At Advent Allison said, “May our love provide wholeness as we accept God’s healing. As we prepare for the Light of World to illuminate us anew. So, we may share our light with the World.” Her key words being “love/wholeness” and “accept/healing”. Allison turns our point of view toward the perpetual arrival of Christ’s light which comes to give us hope and healing in our everyday brokenness. His light illuminating our individual lives so that we become witnesses of the power of love to overcome the troubles of this world.

My dear Sisters and Brothers, The Scriptures tell us the only way to walk with God is in humility. The only way to receive the wholeness and healing we seek for ourselves, our children, and our people is by obeying His Word. Grand spires, names in lights, bulging bank accounts, strong boxes and strong armed-guards are not part of the authority of God’s Word and will not give us what we hope to gain.

The text of Deuteronomy 10 is clear. In order to walk with God and receive His healing and hope we must be obedient and loving. Loving even “the stranger”, because in their eyes, we see ourselves as we actually are in life.

This last Word from God. There was a humble Latinx mother of twelve children who became a Christian evangelist during the late 1960’s. She and her children suffered through a drastic famine in the early part of that decade here in the State of California. They lived on sugar water and worked in the fields. This caused one child to go blind. The mother, Maria Mareno, said “I am the mother of twelve children. I have been a worker all my life. I am an American citizen. And I know how to do a man’s work and I am not ashamed to say it. I am speaking for justice.” She became a labor organizer for the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee before the time of Cesar Chavez. She could move a group with stories about why better conditions were vital to the survival of the people who harvest the food on our tables. The Scriptures say, “ . . . and you must love the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Beloved, our black, brown, yellow and poor white brothers and sisters may appear different to us, but not to God. In Christ we are all the same. The Spiritual fulfillment of Christ’s Advent comes only through humbling ourselves and renewing our minds.

Let us pray: Holy Creator, give us the faith to trust you today and the ability to see Your hand of good along our road of life. We realize that in the darkest hours of our troubles, it is only through the eyes of faith that we see the loving hand of God. Amen.

(*Quotes found in, The New Manual of Worship, by Nancy E. Hall)