"What were you looking for when you went into the wilderness?"
I have to start with the admission that I don't always go into the wilderness of my own volition. The wilderness is harsh, unknown, and confusing. And being human, my tendency is towards the "soft robes" of the known and familiar. But here I am, again.
Anne Lamott quotes Emerson in her book "A Handbook of Meaning, Hope and Repair," "People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them." She then goes on to say, "I hate this idea more than I can capture in words, but insofar as I have any idea of 'the truth,' I believe this to be as true as gravity and grace."
I'm beginning to understand that even if I go into the wilderness knowing what I am looking for, I will most often find something else. Leaving behind the familiar will do that. What we pick up in our discomfort is learning and growth. Each year during this season of Advent we are invited into another encounter with John the Baptist and the wilderness-to become "unsettled" again. Even if his fondness for eating locusts and honey wasn't disconcerting enough, there's that wilderness refrain of "repentance" to shake us up. It's a season of wandering that sometimes only seems tolerable because we know we will end up in Bethlehem. The familiar carols of the season, along with the poetic words of the birth narrative welcome us like a "soft robe."
Yet, if we have truly allowed ourselves to go into the wilderness and be unsettled by the prophets we cannot help but be astonished at how the familiar story of Jesus' birth affects us in unfamiliar yet profound ways. We celebrate the birth of not only Jesus, but the re-birth of our faith and calling to open ourselves to a new year that perhaps will be more wilderness than familiar. But we can do it with a renewed sense of hope. We do so with the assurance of Emmanuel, God-with-us, in the wilderness or soft robes of our life, in our times of being settled and unsettled. Thank you, God, for this truth.
by Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
on behalf of the Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders:
Elder Nancy Maxwell, Convener
Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson
Rev. Elder Dr. Candace R. Shultis
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD
MCC Council of Elders
This year's MCC Advent Resources are being offered through the incredible generosity of MCC of Greater St. Louis, who are graciously sharing their Advent Series, A HOLY DARKNESS.
New Creation Cares!
The unsheltered homeless in the Columbus area often feel ignored, invisible, unwanted. This Christmas we want to show them that God's Love extends to them and that we care about them.
We want to give each unsheltered person a new, wrapped gift at Christmas time. And we need your help. We need at least one hundred winter neck scarves by Dec. 20th, individually wrapped in holiday wrapping paper. They can be handmade or purchased, as long as they are new. We can also use donations of wrapping paper and gift tags.
We plan to wrap any received without wrapping paper on the evening of Dec. 20th. You can join us to help wrap.
Donations can be left at the church after any service or function until then. Some folks are crocheting, some are knitting, some are cutting them from fleece, and some are purchasing scarves new. (We've heard they have them at the dollar stores.) Your help would be very appreciated.