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In the fall of 2010, two years of planning and work were coming to fruition. A group of leaders stood on the cusp of the opening of a new worshiping community. Many in the neighborhood were anticipating the arrival of a new gathering place and spiritual home. I had been shepherding the planning team and overseeing the ways we had been laying the groundwork for this launch. Because there was construction involved, the launch date was much like a birth. We knew roughly when it would happen, but not exactly. And as the days drew close, I felt very much like I did when the time for my children’s births approached. I was beyond excited and so very aware that life would never be the same once they arrived.
Most churches in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) proclaim welcome to anyone attending worship for the first time, whether worship is occurring in person or online. Why welcome matters and how much impact welcome can have were among the topics explored Saturday by Trinity Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Missouri, which welcomed the Rev. Brian Ellison, executive director of Covenant Network of Presbyterians, to both speak to and listen to a welcoming congregation. Watch the 75-minute event here.
Even when writing in times of national crisis (9/11) and personal loss, words never abandoned me as they have now. I’m not sure what to write because I don’t know what our lives will be like by the time you read this.
There are two constants in life: change and Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. In Christ, we live and move and have our being. To be a follower of his is to be forever mindful of the cross, of death’s defeat — and of resurrection power. And, as Wendell Berry wrote in one of his well-known poems, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” we, the church, are to “practice resurrection.”
The refrain of Advent is Come, Lord Jesus. And so, during the season, we stand in the place of those who awaited the advent of the Lord for centuries before the birth of Christ. We cry out for the Lord to come. But just as importantly, we also stand looking forward to Christ’s second advent, when we, who see through a glass darkly, will see our Savior face to face.