30 November 2020 – Saint Andrew the Apostle

Andrew was Saint Peter’s brother, and was called with him. “As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20).

John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. “Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day” (John 1:38-39a).

Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels. Before the multiplication of the loaves, it was Andrew who spoke up about the boy who had the barley loaves and fishes. When the Gentiles went to see Jesus, they came to Philip, but Philip then had recourse to Andrew.

Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras on an X-shaped cross.

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

30 November 2020 – Reflection

Psalm 79; Micah 4:1-5; Revelation 15

“The LORD of heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” Micah 4:4 (NLT)

 
I remember being young and terrified of the dark. I slept with nightlights on and thought that any monster lurking in the darkness would be cast away if I said, “I can see you!”
Upon reflecting on my phase of being afraid of the dark, I have come to recognize that it is not darkness itself that people fear. People are fearful of believing they are alone in the darkness, only to recognize that they have been accompanied by some unannounced being the whole time. We are not sure if something is with us in the darkness because our vision is not clear, so we become full of fear.
 
As we journey through the season of Advent, anticipating the coming of Jesus, our Light, let us remember that Jesus makes the darkness clear for us. Revelation 15:4 (NLT) explains that “all nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed.” God has already shown us the end result—that God is faithful. While we wait, we can expect that our hope will be fulfilled. God shows hope through what God has done, is doing, and will do through Jesus. Have faith in God’s love and hope in God’s promise to come again in love. Christ will be our light that shows the way through the darkness. We must learn to anticipate the darkness, walking through it with faith, which is to say trust, that Light will guide us.
 
On this journey, we begin to hope for peace without the presence of fear. We begin to recognize that we are on this pilgrimage together learning how to wait in the darkness, anticipate light, and recognize the hope that has been—and will be—fulfilled through God’s love. On this journey, our stories unfold as we walk side by side. We find common ground in the hope of such a promise—a promise of room for us all with fields to plough and vines to prune as Micah 4 illustrates. On this pilgrimage, our vision becomes clearer, and the clearer our vision, the more we understand that it includes our neighbors. Outsiders begin to become our kin and our enemy becomes our friend. Ploughs become more useful than swords and pruning hooks more than spears. This journey towards promise cultivates our hearts to expand, and when the lightness in our heart magnifies, it quenches the darkness that we fear because we can now see who is on the journey with us.
 
What promise do we hear and put our hope in? Who do you see on this journey with you?

29 November 2020 – Reflection

The Warmth

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-27

 
When I ponder on this time of year the word “warmth” comes to mind. Warm because at my home growing up my mom began making Mexican hot chocolate and her signature soup, pozole. Family and friends seem closer during this time as we rekindle or reignite the flame of our closeness that has potentially dwindled throughout the year.
 
This is also a time we prepare for weeks, and for some people months, in advance. I can’t help but think of the anticipation our cold world had waiting for the Messiah to bring back the warmth and the light in our lives. We saw glimpses of His light through the people of Israel. The people called out “Restore us, O God…” in anticipation that the promised Counselor would save.
 
Though it may be cold, holdfast, our Redeemer is to come. On this advent journey, let God’s warmth, through Jesus Christ, we experience today remind you to keep watch. Patiently wait for His light to completely remove all the cold of this world.
 
Do you need to rekindle your relationship with the Lord today? Has the coldness dwindled the light you had? Today is a good day to begin your journey.