A World in Need of a Savior
November 27, 2012Thanksgiving Day is come and gone. Fellowship, over-eating, laughter and family togetherness have been great blessing. In the insulation of the family unit, in the comfort of a warm home, in the fragrances of turkey and pumpkin pies cooking, even as prayers of thanksgiving are offered, it is easy to be apart from the world and the suffering that is all around. I have often reflected in my prayer life that it is not always the love that connects us as one people, it is the suffering that comes to us all at different times and in different ways. Mortal life is so susceptible to pain, loss, and suffering. When I was a teen-ager, a popular folk group offered a song called, "They're rioting in Africa... they're starving in Spain...." The song continues to point out the ills of the world, concluding in the statement, "And I don't like anybody very much." Cynicism about the world situation from the lyricist might have been intended to raise the consciousness of the impressionable teens of the 1960s and inspire a new generation to address the issues of the day. Sadly, those issues have mostly been compounded as our world population has increased, our resources decreased, and our detachment from the misery is more and more sought in isolation, consumerism, and skepticism. Yet here it is... Advent. And the weeks of preparation for the birth of Christ in the world begins in a period of self-examination and waiting. I used to hear Bishop Marion Edwards talk about "fields being ripe for harvest." He would say that never since the first century has the world been so in need of Christ's coming. He was right. We truly are a world in need of a Savior. One who will come among us in humility, walk with us in the pain and misery, and lead us to a place of healing and hope. Psalm 25:1 - 10 is the Psalter reading for the first Sunday in Advent. "Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths." Later in the psalm we are told the way and path of the Lord: "steadfast love and faithfulness." Perhaps this is what we need the refresher course in. How do we live the love that is God's way? Hospitality to strangers? Generosity to the poor? To weep with those who weep and cry with those who suffer? The words to the Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem speak of the hope and fear we humans bring to the season ahead. The invitation to come to the birthplace of Christ where hopes and fears are met, and the call of the human heart for Christ to be born in us again and again until we too live the steadfast love and faithfulness of God that is the true hope of the season. Find a place to worship. Find a fellowship that can hear your hope and hurt and hold you in it. Find a friend to sit with and share the fellowship of love and acceptance. We live in a world sorely in need of a Savior, and the promise of a Savior eager to be born in us. That is good news for the world. Peace and love to you all. Amen.