THE WISDOM OF ADVENT
Advent has much wisdom to share with us as we journey through this season of darkness, seeking light and hope.
Thomas Merton is known for his prayer which begins, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.” This uncertainty is familiar to us. But, this uncertainty about our vocation, our path, about our life and the future life of our community is comforted in the hope we find in Advent. Merton trusted that though he didn’t have all the answers, God would not leave him to face his life journey alone. This is the meaning of Advent. We are not alone.
As a community, we are living in that time of uncertainty and even darkness created by the pandemic, our own personal losses and the multiple changes in clergy over this past year with the accompanying sense of grief and loss with each change.
We have entered into a period of discernment prior to calling our new rector and while great efforts have been made to involve the community as much as possible in the process, unanswered questions still remain, many of which cannot be answered at this time due to the confidential nature of a search process.
Discernment in the midst of uncertainty sometimes has these Advent characteristics of darkness, waiting and yearning for a glimmer of hope. We know God is there but for some reason the light hasn’t shown through. First, we are called to cease clinging to what has been or to a particular outcome we think best and be open to the unknown in expectation and hope. And then, only then, will we discern the tiniest of flickers illuminating a flame that sets our hearts ablaze with the certain knowledge that God is present and guiding us.
Advent reminds us that such darkness will be quenched with the light of Emanuel, God-with-us, and the hope for a God who will indeed be with us. The coming of Jesus incarnates this reality, creating for us a visible sign of hope and new life.
In the midst of moments of grief and sadness, we can also acknowledge all for which we are grateful. I am inspired by how much we have accomplished during this year in the midst of grief and hardship. Together we created a Parish Profile that attracted great candidates for the Search Committee to consider. The Reckoning with Racism Committee planned beautiful and meaningful liturgies. A new Outreach Ministry developed with the Thursday lunches. Meaningful liturgies with inspiring music were celebrated no matter how many parishioners gathered. Our physical plant saw major improvements and remained well cared for and maintained. You can name many other ways the ministries that are well established continued
to thrive. We have much to be proud of and recommend to a new rector. Our light shines before us.
In the Parish Profile, we named the ways we need to be challenged and grow which requires that we all commit to one another and to the life of our community. We do not heal alone but rather in community. If we show up with our whole hearts to stand in LOVE and be truly present to one another, listen deeply to one another and acknowledge the pain of grief and loss different individuals are carrying, we will be caring for and loving one another into new life and renewed hope. Through our love and prayers for one another we incarnate the LOVE of Christ. We can be the light, shining ever-brighter in the darkness this Advent and in the days to come. We are the LIGHT of Christ, if we but choose to share the love that is in our hearts.
Mary C. Myers
Chaplain, Search Committee
December 6, 2022