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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (December 2012/January 2013)

posted Dec 5, 2012, 4:12 AM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel

Truly he taught us to love one another,

His law is love, and his gospel is peace.

Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,

And in his name all oppression shall cease!

The lyrics above come from one of my favorite Christmas carols: O Holy Night!  Every Christmas Eve and Morn, I listen to this song as I travel in my car – whether it is from congregation to congregation to lead the liturgy or to my parent’s home to celebrate the day or any place in-between.  When I hear this part of the song, I always get tears in my eyes.  Every time, it happens!  I know… I am a bit sentimental.  Yet, these lyrics bring about very powerful emotions within me.  I simultaneously experience sorrow and joy when I listen to this song. 

You might ask, “How can this song make you feel both sorrow and joy at the same time?”  Well, I feel sorrow because we, as humans, do not love one another as fully as possible.  These lyrics reflect what has not yet come to be.  Within this world, there is still extreme poverty, hunger and disease.  Many suffer so that a few can have everything immediately and abundantly.  Within this world, there is still war, hatred and strife.  Boundaries continue to divide and prejudices/differences continue to cause conflict.  Within this world, we strive for worldly power, wealth and greatness.  Those who follow Jesus often times fail to follow the humble path of the cross – a path of love, peace, and justice for all.  Within this world, oppression and injustice reigns and peace throughout God’s creation is something of which we can only dream.  I cry because we, as humans, fail to respond to the tremendous gift of grace found in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

Nevertheless, these lyrics remind us of the promise we find in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  They compel us to hope for a better world… a new creation!  They repeat the message that God is present with us in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Christ’s message is one of love and peace.  God in Christ seeks to reconcile all people into the grace and glory of the kingdom.  God in Christ seeks to break the chains of sin and death.  God in Christ seeks to bring justice to all people who are afflicted by the sins of others.  Jesus Christ came into this world to die for you!  Through the waters of baptism, you are joined to his death whereby you are joined to his resurrection.  Even if we can only bring about God’s love, peace, and justice one step at a time, as God’s people, we are called to strive for this kingdom where Christ’s law of love and gospel of peace reign supreme!   

One cold night, in a dark field, angels proclaimed a message to the shepherds, “I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy!  Today your Savior is born in the city of David.  He is Christ the Lord!”  Within the darkness of sin, death and evil, the light of Christ shines forth to bring us into the glory of God’s kingdom.  As we journey each week through Advent, let the light of Christ remind you that God seeks to make this world even better than the world he originally created and called “good.”  Christ came to remind us that God seeks to redeem, forgive, and save us.  We anxiously await the day when that promise will come to fulfillment.  Until that day, let us live in the love and grace of God, striving to bring justice and peace to all people – no matter their race, class, sexuality, social status, intelligence, religion, or any other marker that makes one “different” from the other.  For we are all God’s children… and God’s Son came to sacrifice himself for the sake of the whole world! 

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas ~ Pastor Maureen