Every time my wife wants me to try a different recipe that she has prepared, I start finding a reason to say no. I want to ask her, “What is in the recipe? Why do we have to try something different?” These thoughts run through my mind before I eat the new dish.
Did you ever put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve? How about oats for the reindeer? Growing up in Cuba, I learned about these traditions from books and movies. My Christmas celebration, though, did not include any visitors from the North Pole.
A doctor of ministry degree would be easier than this for me. I told that to myself many times as I took three arduous 2½-hour tests, as well as a black belt practice test, all leading up to a final exam. This was over and above four years of rigorous classes, color belt tests and a binder full of requirements toward the rank of “1st dan,” the first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, a Korean martial art that emphasizes kicking techniques.
During Advent, I often meditate on the holy family. There’s Joseph, the adoptive father whose acceptance of Mary and Jesus is later mirrored in the adoption of the Gentiles into God’s original chosen family. I give thanks for Joseph’s love, grace and obedience when it came to putting together an unconventional family.
The church lectern has been pushed aside and the chancel chairs rearranged — just that morning the good news was proclaimed from that space. Now, in a few minutes, another story will be told. As the last of the stragglers enter the sanctuary, quickly and quietly taking their seats, a man dressed in a Victorian frock coat and top hat walks onto the makeshift stage. After a brief dramatic pause, he begins with the opening words of all good stories — “once upon a time.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Very rarely, though, do we stop and think of who these men and women are, let alone the challenges that they face, as they work to bring peace to the most turbulent places around the world. Presbyterians Today takes a look at today’s peacemakers.
Diane Moffett is a busy woman. Six months into her role as the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s president and executive director, she has been to countless meetings and other events, sharing her vision for what she calls a “Matthew 25” church — one that gives food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, care to the sick, companionship to the lonely, and welcome to the stranger.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” — Lamentations 3:22