It is nice to be back in Texas, and based on the weather, in early October as well. At the time of writing, I am in the office at the height of the afternoon, and I’ve yet to feel cold (or, as happens too often in my office through most of the year, hot); if it weren’t for the sun setting so early, I would swear it’s still baseball season.
But it is not. We have begun the season of Advent. I have listened to the recording of the Hanging of the Greens service done on November 27, with the leadership and participation of our youth. Before I even could, I’ve heard from numerous folks how profound, moving and beautiful the service was. Kudos to you, youth, and also the adults who you keep reined in. We also began a multi-generational Sunday School experience on the names of Jesus on Sunday—Kathy led it while balancing childrens’ responsibilities and figuring out what was up with our nursery. Kudos to you, Kathy, and all the folks who made Sunday spectacular for all ages.
This Sunday is Peace Sunday. Peace is more than the absence of conflict; peace is the absence of fear. I am really good at fear. I can imagine realities and scenarios where the worst will happen—to me, to those I love (and even those I don’t), to the world—and focus on those instead of the beautiful and even the mundane actually occurring. I don’t think it’s out of an expectation it will happen—for me, at least, fear happens to be an act of avoidance of What is Actually Going On. And maybe part of that is denying expectations, or keeping options open.
Coming to peace with something or someone does not mean there will not be conflict, but rather, being fully invested in what or who is happening in the moment. There’s an embrace of what IS instead of what MIGHT be. But then, writing that—how does hope play into this?
So as you can see, I’m already working on the sermon for Sunday. It’s good to be back, I missed all of you severely, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday, if not sooner.