Lent & Advent

Advent 2021: A Season Of Healing And Hope – December 21

Jim Hopkins

December 21, 2021

In Our Weakness God Never Leaves Us

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.)

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:18-30 (NIV)

Dearly Beloved, this text shouts out the hope and healing found in Christ! There is a hymn that proclaims, “I’m pressing on the upward way! New heights I’m gaining every day! Still praying as I am onward bound. Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

The same proclamation is found in this bible text. Yes, we know the realities of moral decay, bitter violence and the world’s spiritual abandonment, but in Christ we find the revelation of a world of hope and healing. Our very presence in Christ challenges the presence of evil in the world. If you do not yet understand this, be patient and God will reveal it to you. Stay in Christ long enough and your own weaknesses will reveal God’s healing power and strength to you.

Once a Christian, you receive the Advent of Christ. You are at no time left on your own to cope with problems. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to intercede in harmony with God’s will. Be sure, be very sure, God will always do what is best. God works in everything! Nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ!

These words from Sharon Allen* capture the true Advent of Christ’s coming. When the corruption of this world discourages you remember her words and find the courage to meet the demands of your conscience. Sharon said, “Ours is the journey and it is far from over. May we continue to follow where Jesus Leads and Courageously challenge our culture. May we dare to question those who deny that God’s inclusive love is for all people. May God give us strength for a radical welcome, to love as Jesus loves. Amen.”

A brief story of revelation about Christ’s Advent and healing hope. One morning I opened the dishwasher and found something had gone wrong. Instead of clean sparkling dishes I removed plates and glasses covered in a chalky dust. I wondered if hard water was wreaking havoc or if the machine was broken. Then I reflected how God cleans, unlike a faulty dishwasher. He washes away all of our impurities. He calls His own back to Him through a message of love and forgiveness. When we go out of whack, the Spirit is merciful and welcomes us back and promised to clean us “from all impurities and all idols” (Ezekiel 36:24-32). Yes, the Lord welcomes us back to His ways and washes us clean from our decay and damage. The Spirit takes up residence within us and helps us to follow Him.

Let us pray: Lord God, the certainty of being clean and forgiven is like nothing the world offers.
Thank you for transforming me into a new person. Help me to be present in you daily. So that I might grow more like the likeness of the Christ. Amen.

*Quotes found in “The New Manual of Worship” by Nancy E. Hall