Light one candle…begin your prayer time by lighting the first purple candle on your wreath. The “Hope” Candle.
READ: Luke 9: 1-6
6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Jesus was sent into this world…not for himself…but for all….and not just for “individuals” but for community. We like to say, Jesus died for “me,” but Jesus died for “us.” Jesus came for “us.” Us is more than one. When we focus on “me” it is way to easy to make ourselves the actors in the story, instead of Jesus. Jesus died for “all,” well that includes others…even the others we might not want or believe it includes.
But, more importantly, it includes a gift. A gift of community.
As much as Jesus came for all, he also didn’t spread the Word by himself. He used broken, flawed, sometimes silly, ignorant human beings to spread that Word. (umm…he still does…) In today’s lesson, Jesus gave the disciples directions, pointed them along the path and gave them a little push. Because they followed, imperfectly as they may have been, we too know this amazing story of grace and love from God. We too know that we are not individuals, but an US. We are part of this great community, this great cloud of witnesses, that spread the good news and heal. Perhaps we don’t lay hands on others in a way that heals cancer or illness, but we stand beside. We advocate. We listen. We feed. We share. We encourage. “We” and “Us” means that “me” is never alone, regardless of how alone it feels at times. Walking into a community you don’t know, can often be as difficult as walking into a community that knows everything about you. But walk there…go there…again and again…because that is where we hear this good news. That is where we too experience the healing at the font and at the table. Don’t expect perfection…but go. The creativity of your faith will be nourished along side you nourishing others. Go for the “us” instead of the “me.” But go…again and again and again.
Sending God, gathering God…you call us together and you send us out. You direct us for both, because both share your witness to the world and strengthen us for the journey. We pray for those without a faith community. We pray they will find your good news and healing in ways that spark their creative faith. We pray you will draw us closer to our own faith community during this Season of Advent, that we too might live as your disciples. Amen.
Think about a time in your life when you faith community shared the good news and healing with you? What made that possible? What difference did it make in your life? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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