Love All

It all boils down to love. Love from a saviour. Love to a neighbour in need. By spending just a little less on gifts we free up our resources to love as Jesus loves by giving to those who really need help. As such we continue our refugee sponsorship journey- come Sunday and hear Scott McLeod, diocesan refugee coordinator and member of Canadian Council for Refugees Advent is a time that joins commitment, patience restlessness. We are waiting and waiting isn’t easy. We want Christmas now! We want fulfillment now! We want spiritual growth now! We want the world to change now! But the moral arc of history and our own spiritual arc often move slowly, organically, and at their own speed. The healing of grief can’t be fast forwarded. The healing of a wound can’t be sped up. Our own personal and communal growth takes time. The agents of change must claim urgency and also recognize that long-standing and permanent transformation takes time. A spiritual harvest may require a refining fire. That’s the message of Malachi. Get rid of everything inessential. Throw out the cumber in your life. Malachi reminds us that Advent is a time of refining and simplifying. Faithfulness involves focusing on the deeper meaning of Christmas, God’s incarnation in our lives and the coming of Christ among oppressed peoples. Refining is aimed at transformation and liberation of what is best in us and our communities. It involves a new heart and a generous spirit. While we may appropriately choose to give generously to our friends and family, our generosity must extend beyond ourselves. The joy of family unites us with the larger human family and all creation. By own spiritual values and practices, we can midwife the birth of Christ in our families and communities. John the Baptist’s message challenges us to turn around – to forsake the ways of death – so that we might be prepared for Christ’s coming. We have experienced too much death recently. Religious extremists wreak havoc in Paris and Africa and try to create a theocratic state in the Middle East. Our own addiction to non-renewable resources puts the Earth in jeopardy. John’s message then and now, as Mary’s works in Luke 1:68-79 assert, is to bring light to darkness and help the lost find their way. John the Baptist’s message, as recorded in Luke’s Gospel, is harsh, but it is ultimately liberating. Despite our participation in the ways of death, we can turn around. We can use the freedom we have to change our ways, to transform our value systems, and create structures of life. As Malachi recognizes such transformation may be painful, not unlike a refiner’s fire. The military and political forces of evil must be neutralized and transformed and this will require sacrifice. Cultural values need to change and “downward mobility” may, at first, be painful. Spiritual surgery is always painful but the new creation that emerges brings wholeness and joy, and the promise of a harvest of righteousness. This is the message of Advent: prepare for the coming of Christ by changing your life and giving birth to Christ within and among us. - Bruce Epperley
December 6, 2015 2nd Sunday of Advent
Readings: MALACHI 3:1-4 LUKE 3:1-6

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