Reflection for December 22nd, by John Rohde Schwehn, Associate Pastor
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. Here is a verse of scripture worth wrestling with in these days of waiting.
“But I really loved the former things, God! I want the things-of-old back!”
The year 2020 has been its own sort of Advent. We have found ourselves waiting on something merely hoped for: a vaccine, a miraculous vanishing of this virus, sudden immunity. It has felt at times as though we’ve simply hit the pause button; when this virus goes away, life will resume where we left it in March 2020.
If this is how we tell the story of 2020, we will have missed something: that this has also been a year – a season! – of God doing a new thing. Let’s be clear about one thing: God does not cause pain and suffering in order to do a new thing. Instead, what we see on the cross is that God enters the pain and suffering of the world, feels lovingly and compassionately for God’s people, and then finds a way to use it for transformation.
This has also been a year of transformation. Vocations reimagined. Old relationships rekindled from afar. We have been confronted with our need for one another, with the myth of total independence. We have stayed local, fallen in greater love or admiration with the place we always were. We have polluted less; the earth has been given a break from our relentless consumption of her.
Tragically, COVID has also revealed the inequities that were already here. It turns out that your zip code, racial identity, and economic class are way too determinative of health outcomes. As they have throughout history, the poor have received the brunt of the world’s suffering.
2020 has been a year to clarify what is most important to us, and a year to be renewed in our baptismal callings to work for the restoration and reconciliation of ourselves, our communities, and our whole world to the love of God. All of this comes only through God’s creative and life-giving Spirit. And, when the Holy Spirit is involved, something new is bound to happen next. Watch for it.
Pray: God, you are forming us into something new. Grow our faith and deepen our love as we navigate this messy process of transformation. Open our eyes to the newness around us every day. Open our hearts to love others and your creation more deeply. Open our minds to imagine new possibilities. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Christ the King Lutheran Church
1900 7th Street NW
New Brighton, MN 55112
Office Hours: temporarily by appointment only (Mon - Thurs)
Sunday Morning Worship at 9:30 am
12 pm Cristo Rey Servicio en Español
Masks are currently required while indoors and we livestream every service here