Friday, December 10

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2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit

Week 2: The Gift of Faith

Scripture: Philippians 3:9 – “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based in faith.”

Reflector: Rev. Rosalee Blake

The time of COVID-19, along with crises with climate, systemic racism, and unrest in politics, has made it clearer than ever that we are in the midst of changing ways. Even our global United Methodist Church painfully struggles with the need for significant changes. I admit that many days I don’t like these realities – it’s hard to cope with all the changes in our country and world.

I have felt at times that my foundation is shifting, and tectonic plates below me are moving. I have experienced feelings of fear through the changes. And I have felt the need to shift my mental framework at times. I remind myself that “changing ways” are the norm in God’s creation, and not the exception. COVID has reminded me that I often forget that Creation is not static, but is endlessly moving and shifting; we see this throughout the Bible.

Image by Lukas Baumert from Pixabay
I am paying attention to my feelings of fear, and I’m wondering, and exploring, what they’re about. For as our self-awareness grows, so can our ability to love ourselves. My spiritual faith lies in God’s steadfast love and presence. I trust Jesus’s teachings that we can be healed and transformed. My love for God, myself, and neighbor guide my being and doing. Yet in the midst of changing ways, I ask: is the foundation of my faith enough to sustain me? Can I offer hope to others in the waiting?

We talked in our Sacred Bites Bible study last week about living faithfully when times are dark, and when hope is not in abundance. The group found meaning in T.S. Eliot’s words from “East Coker” in Four Quartets:

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you….
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
or love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting….

May our faith sustain us as we remember God’s steadfast love and presence, and that there is light indeed, even in the darkness, and in the waiting. May T.S. Eliot’s words bring you comfort in changing ways and times.

Prayer: May we remember the familiar biblical words “do not be afraid” as we engage in this Advent season of waiting. May we have an enlightened awareness of the faith and love in our midst. Amen.