Advent is a time that most of us associate with the familiar and comfortable. And yet, the birth of Jesus is radically disruptive. A nineteenth century journalist named Finley Peter Dunne once wrote that the newspaper “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.” This sentiment was quickly reappropriated by ministers who claimed that this is exactly what Jesus, and the gospel, came to do.
Advent is about looking at the world through a different lens and seeing the birth of hope through a variety of perspectives. To this end, we are taking a less familiar approach in 2023. This Advent, SCC is participating in a self-study of a book called “Rise Up, Shepherd!: Advent Reflections on the Spirituals” by Luke A. Powery. To reinforce the lessons found there, we will be singing one of the hymns from the book in worship each week.
While most of these hymns will be familiar to you, you may not be accustomed to singing them at this time of year. I invite you to open your hearts and minds to the deep longing that is found in them. This season, may we hear the calls of freedom from suffering and the hope for eternal salvation.
Please pray with me:
Dear God, we admit that we are more attentive to maintaining our comfort than we are to receiving the disruptive power that you bring to our lives on Christmas Day. Help us to be attentive to voices both familiar and distant, that we might welcome you with joy in the assurance of your saving might. Amen.