"Works of justice follow the road less traveled of Advent’s hope to pursue solutions for difficult problems. Hope comes through works of justice rather than simply performing works of charity." -Father Brian Cavanaugh
In concert with the liturgical calendar today marks the first Sunday in the season of Advent. Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming" .Latin adventus is the translation of the
Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.
It’s rather easy to get caught up in the trap of the “Americanized” view of this season that attempts to coerce us to spend what we don’t have in order get what we don’t need. The God of consumerism tries draws us away from the true and living God. In this moment of Advent I believe
we are called to a greater level of service, giving, and self-sacrifice. In this season of “Great Expectations” we are to embody our Lord and Liberator Jesus of Nazareth in making a difference in our world. As I write I am thinking about our “Criminal Injustice System” that conveyed to us that Michael Brown’s life was not worthy of saving or his murderer deserving to be tried in a court of
law. What does Advent and this season mean for his mother, father, and our sisters and brothers in Ferguson? Howard Thurman raises a similar question in his classic text “Jesus and the Disinherited”, “What does the religion of Jesus have to say to those whose backs are up against the wall?” We must speak to this reality and use our collective voices because #BlackLivesMatter.
I am excited to begin a new Advent preaching series entitled “A Promised Gift.” When we cannot depend on anyone or anything else, we can trust on the promises of God. As we ready our hearts, spirits, and minds for this season, I feel the need to make a deeper commitment as husband, father, son, pastor, and public servant. My prayer is that we would share the liberating power of the
promised gift that is Jesus Christ.
With Great Expectations,
Pastor R. Grove