As I am writing this article, the day is November 19, 2023. I just got home from Sunday worship with Luca, and I am sitting here reflecting on the past year. Exactly one year ago, November 19, 2022, I was ordained a minister of Word and Sacrament at Faith Lutheran Church by Bishop Patricia Davenport. It was a very exciting day! The worship service was great. The meal hosted afterward by Faith was delightful, and it was a blessing to see so many supportive faces. It was quite a day to start off my official ministry as a called and ordained minister of Christ.
This first year of ministry has been great. I have met so many new people and have formed many wonderful relationships. I have learned so many things. I have learned about the histories and the stories of both Faith and Jerusalem. I have learned about both congregations’ traditions and what they deem important. I have heard from both congregations stories of great joy but also stories of sorrow. I have been fully integrated into the lives of these congregations and I am now a part of their stories. It has been a great year and now we look to the future. We look forward to the future of the Church and the reign of Christ.
In December, we start the season of Advent. One of the main themes of advent is waiting for the coming of Christ. As Christians, we wait eagerly for the final coming of Christ at the end of time, and as we wait, we are called to do so diligently. We are called to be alert and to stay awake. We wait looking to a future where we will be reunited with Christ our lord.
However, as we are waiting, let us not forget the here and now. We may be waiting, we may be looking towards the future, but let us not forget those who need us now, for as our gospel text on November 19th said, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).
Let us not stay idle, oblivious to the world around us. Let us not forget that Christ comes to us now in our hearts, in others, and in the sacraments. Instead, let us remember the words of the prophet of Isaiah that are repeated throughout all of the synoptic gospels:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. " (Luke 3:4-6)
In Advent, we may be called into waiting for the final coming of Christ, but we are also called to prepare. We may not be of this world, but we are in this word. So, let us prepare and let us do what needs to be done. Go out and be disciples of Christ and prepare the way of the lord. Amen.
Peace and Blessings, Pastor Ethan Doan