Dear People of Grace,
Another Thanksgiving arrives on a cool breeze, though a late one, with bare whispers of snow just yet as I write this in early November. We have spent another year together as a church family, some newer and many back for decades now. As we gather week after week for the Great Eucharist, I am reminded that "eucharist" is literally the Great Thanksgiving. Every Sunday we come together, and we worship God; we break open the Scriptures together, and we set out to serve in Christ’s name.
All this past year, we have been talking about discipleship and living a disciplined life. This has been a really fruitful time of study and growth. Let us give thanks for the changes in our lives and our community, small and great, that move us toward each other and Christ. I am struck every week by the Spirit’s work in our members’ lives. As we step toward God, we find him already there, waiting with open arms.
As we turn toward Advent, the liturgical (worship) year turns again, and our life together will grow again. This year we will be looking at Light and Mystery, beginning with entering the mystery of Advent and preparing to bear the Light of Christ with Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, and John the Baptist.
It is a simple enough mission. We gather and go out. We pray and learn; and so we train to bear the Light of Christ in the world. It is this light that we prepare for in the mysteries of Advent. As the world arms its arsenals of consumerism to celebrate Christmore, that secular distortion of Christmas soaked in stuff and wrapping, we quietly open ourself to that subtle, simple being together where we discover the Rule of God between us (Luke 17:21). That comes in conversations and time, not noise and bustle. But how can we turn away from the world’s expectations? We turn toward each other and Scripture, laughter and tears, healing and hope that come from community and family and the one we wait for.
So slow down. Practice just a few minutes a day of quiet listening to God. Whether you begin with the daily office or a simple plea for direction and presence, spend a little of your morning just listening, present and quiet. Then listen to those around you. God is at work, are you paying attention?
As we close out the last of this year of discipleship together, let us commit to support Grace with our money, yes, but also with our time and deep engagement with God and each other: worshiping, studying and serving together in his Name. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to give. I am honored to be committed with you to this place, this time together.