Advent I

Police tape cordons off a street in Waukesha, Wis., after a vehicle plowed into a Christmas parade hitting more than 20 people Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

By now you have heard the disturbing news of the horror at the Christmas parade in Wisconsin over the weekend. We pray for the good people of Wisconsin. Between a trial which held national attention in Kenosha and this, it has been a rough week there. God give all who are injured, who grieve, who seek justice, and who care for people His blessing and love.

It is the week of Advent I, we will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday and light our first Advent candle on Sunday. Does it feel a little like these things are out of step with our world right now? They should feel that way. They have always been to some degree out of step with the world. Yesterday, as I write this, we celebrated Christ the King Sunday. But remember, Jesus made his clearest claim to kingship and kingdom when he was bound before Pilate, just hours from his death on a cross.

We long for Jesus to come in Advent. He comes this next time in glory, but He comes right now in you and your preaching, through the hand that splashes the water of baptism or holds that host which the communicant consumes. Our world and our life will reflect that broken and sinful reality until that day of Jesus’ appearing. In that brokenness God is calling us today to lives of faithful service. In the last issue of First Things was a fascinating article by Brendan Case entitled “The Toll of Unbelief.” I highly encourage you to read it. He was specifically talking about suicide and other deaths of despair. It turns out that attending church lowered these terrors in one group by 68%. You are doing something vitally important simply by gathering on Sunday mornings, sharing a smile, a word, a cup of coffee, and being a friend. Jesus is making the world a better place. Pray for the people in Wisconsin directly affected by these events. Work to make our communities safer and better places. Be the presence of Christ for this benighted world. It needs Him and He comes through you.

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