Advent 11

Tonight at 6:00 PM we gather for worship.  The service is one of the most powerful we offer at Richfield UMC.
We call it an Advent Service of Hope and Healing.
While around us the culture seems intent upon denying and sidestepping places of loneliness and loss in this season, we pause as faith community and mark the wisdom of our heart aches.
There is something about the Advent season of purposeful waiting for the light of hope that stirs in us awareness of loss.  We miss the physical presence of people in our lives who have blessed and vexed us.  We miss the ways we used to encounter life in a way that felt simpler and less tentacled.  We miss our children’s footie-jammied presence in our daily life.  We miss, we mark, we name, and we are present to all of the major and minor losses that make for honest living.
Tonight during worship we bow before those losses and ask for them to lead us into wholeness and wisdom.
We will savor scripture and silence.  We will allow the singing of Silent Night to move us.  We will light candles to mark our questions and we will know the power of giving over to God the burdens and beauty of our souls.
I hope you will join us.  If you cannot, I hope you will pause at some point on this day and listen to the wisdom of your heart.
Folded into the power of community or sitting in a moment of mindfulness, may we each name the power of stumble and question, healing and hope.

The Healing Time

                                                Finally on my way to yes
                                                I bump into
                                                all the places
                                                where I said no
                                                to my life
                                                all the untended wounds
                                                the red and purple scars
                                                those hieroglyphs of pain
                                                carved into my skin, my bones,
                                                those coded messages
                                                that send me down
                                                the wrong street
                                                again and again
                                                where I find them
                                                the old wounds
                                                the old misdirections
                                                and I lift them
                                                one by one
                                                close to my heart
                                                and I say    holy

                                                   © Pesha Joyce Gertler

Advent Day Three

O Come, O Come Emmanuel,

and ransom captive Israel,

that mourns in lowly exile here

until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee,

O Israel.

 Somehow my soul has always leaned into the mournful power of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.  Even as a child growing up, I felt the shiver of mystery whenever the above song of longing was sung.

The hymn begins with a prayer so deep we seldom name its power:  O Come, hope.  O Come, deliverance.  O Come, Dayspring from on high.

To begin the season of Advent, we name our soul longings.  Surrounded by the many stuffs of our lives, we name the places of echo and want.

We name the longings for peace in our world.

We name the loneliness that sounds in our soul.

We name the hunger we feel for compassion made food for the hungry.

We name the near desperate sense we have that the antidote for all the brokenness in creation seems so long in the coming.

O Come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer

our spirits by thy justice here;

disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee

O Israel.

 In the midst of the bustle of this holiday preparation marathon there is melancholy.

There ought be melancholy.

The promise and the gifting that is Christ Jesus is light and witness to answered prayers and gut sung entreaties.

And we know him not; not really.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

On this day give to God these questions:


For what does my soul long?


Who will I pray for during this Advent season?


How will I know my own call to live the vision of Jesus?



Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay