Bread for the Journey

An Advent of Encouragement

  –Pastor Miriam Smith

  There are not words eloquent enough to fully articulate what we have been through together over the past weeks. On November 10, the church conference conducted a vote on disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church that fell short of the required 2/3 to carry the motion. It was a very close vote. It has been a very stressful month. There are some from our community who have withdrawn their membership. There are others who have been reinvigorated in commitment. There are still many others who are waiting, unsure of the right thing to do or the right time to do it. Please know, my prayers are with you all. May you have peace in your heart and know that God is with you.

  This month, we are preparing for our King’s arrival. We are getting ready to welcome him into our lives and hearts again. Before this year, I had not spent much time thinking of Advent as a season of renewal. Which was my loss! Usually, I think of advent as a time to take stock and repent of the things that would block me from fully embracing Jesus when he comes. This year, I am looking at the coming weeks as a time to get ready with anticipation for the arrival of the new things that God is sending our way.

  Certainly, taking stock of what would hinder us from responding to God’s invitation into the new things he is doing is entirely appropriate and good to do! For us this season though, I want to challenge our church to commit to listening for what God is calling us into in the new year. In Isaiah, the prophet’s words about the coming of the savior are located alongside beautiful images of barren places breaking forth in new life. While it may feel that we are in the wilderness, we also know that it is in the wilderness that God can be found closer than our next breath. The unknown is an unmatched place to rediscover that we are known by our God. Realizing that we aren’t sure what will happen next is an invitation to rest in the presence of our God who, in Jesus, is the embodiment of the certainty of God’s love for us.

  No matter what tomorrow or next week may bring, personally or communally, may we find this season to be a fresh opportunity to draw near to our God who has already come to us.






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