What does faithfulness really look like? A message from Bishop Yoos

13:14 21 December in News

synod-christmas-poster

Luke 1:39-45 Mary visits Elizabeth
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

herman-deskWhat does faithfulness really look like as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ in our mostly secular society?

First, faithfulness looks like a young, unmarried Jewish girl (possibly 14-16 years old) who just found out that she is pregnant and will give birth to the son of God. Full of questions and confusion, she accepts this responsibility with a sense of wonder at how God works.

Second, faithfulness looks like a much older woman named Elizabeth, a relative of Mary’s, who had been barren her whole life and now finds herself suddenly with child. She would become the mother of John the Baptist. She too is excited, confused, and full of wonder and awe.

What do you and I have in common with these two women? What difference do their stories make in our lives? It seems to me that one of the most important things we can identify with them is not always seeing or knowing what God is up to in our lives. We like to pretend that we are in control of our futures, when in reality unexpected surprises and interruptions happen all the time. We like to tell ourselves that we know what is best for our lives, when often we are confused and uncertain about how to respond to the many challenges and opportunities before us. Finally, like them, we are surprised and caught off guard by moments of holy wondering – moments of unexpected awe that come out of the blue.

It seems to me that God is inviting us this Advent and Christmas season to being confused and not knowing all the answers to our faith journey – but still trusting that God has many significant surprises and wonders for us to behold. Therefore, faith isn’t so much about right answers as it is about living each day with a sense of openness to wonder and awe.

Let us pray.
Gracious Lord, help me to grow in my sense of wonder and awe at your life and love that is reflected in the birth of Jesus Christ. Free me from my cynicism and my desire to always be in control so that I can see with new eyes the peace you still bring to our hurting and troubled world.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.