THE CONNECTION

 

September 2022 Connection

An Obvious Miracle

When the apostles returned, they described for Jesus what they had done. Taking them with him, Jesus withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds figured it out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about God’s kingdom, and healed those who were sick…[Jesus said], “You give them something to eat.” But they said, “We have no more than five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” – Luke 9:10-11, 13 (CEB)
 
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 found throughout the Gospels is perhaps one of the most well known biblical stories. Throughout generations, this story is told and retold, often focusing on what I like to call “the miracle of the plenty.” Sermon after sermon has been given on the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; Jesus taking what seems like not nearly enough, and turning it into more than enough. Amazing!
 
But, in reading this version of the miracle story from Luke’s Gospel, I started to ask myself, “why didn’t Luke say more about what this would have been like, to miraculously see more food created?” Surely, someone must have noticed the sudden smorgasbord appear right before them, right?! Then it occurred to me: maybe Luke did! Just not in the details we were paying attention to. In Luke 9:10, Luke shares with us that Jesus retreated from the town where they had just been in ministry, to the town of Bethsaida. It’s not uncommon that, in reading scripture, we skip over names of people and towns we don’t know much about. Often, we’re just glad that we scored a passing grade on pronunciation. But, here, that town’s name is vitally important! In fact, the very mention of Bethsaida might be just the detail we need to know. Why? Because Bethsaida was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee.
 
Why would that matter?
 
As they entered Bethsaida, Jesus instructs the disciples to feed the people who had discovered that Jesus came to town – all 5,000 men plus women and children. The disciples question Jesus, in effect saying: “With what food Jesus? All we have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.” You see the irony? The disciples are complaining that they don’t have enough bread and fish to feed the hungry people, all while standing in Bethsaida…a FISHING VILLAGE!
 
The disciples were looking only at what they had on hand, and paid no attention to the environment and community in which they found themselves. It’s easy to do that isn’t it? As a church, we often talk about our resources, and we think only of those who are a part of the church – resources of energy, of time, of giving, etc. When we do this, it’s all to easy to throw up our hands and repeat the age-old gripe of churches: “we just don’t have enough.” (It’s probably worth noting that your pastor has said this his fair share of times). What if, instead, we were to include the whole community and environment around us in that evaluation of resources? Would we discover partnerships in the community, eager to help improve the lives of those in our community?  Would we discover donors who are excited about the ministries we are sharing?  Would we stumble upon ministry opportunities, themselves, such as service to the students in our schools? 

 

If we limit ourselves to only what we already have, we’ll always be staring at not enough.  But, if we’re to open our eyes to what Jesus sees, suddenly the miracle of plenty and the multiplication isn’t that dumbfounding. 
 

Jesus found fish in a fishing village.

Peace, Pastor Brian
 

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August 2022 Connection

What’s Informing What?

“What’s informing what?” Throughout my 10 years of ministry, I have found that, time and time again, this question has been extremely helpful. The complete question, though, is a bit more nuanced: What’s informing what? Is my faith informing my politic, or is my politic informing my faith? You could also ask the question with a little bit of a different verbiage: Is my faith forming my politic, or is my politic forming my faith?
 
Now before you classify this as a political speech by a pastor, no matter your feelings or leanings, don’t run away. Give me a few minutes.
 
Politics has become a bad word in the church…and maybe just about everywhere. We’ve equated “politics” with trickery and self interest by those who compete (and even fight) for our votes throughout the year. The word evokes images of yard signs, bumper stickers, and painfully bad television endorsements and attack ads. I’m going to suggest that we refuse to call that “politics” any longer. Politics is something far different – and far better.
 
The true definition of politics was defined long before Washington D.C. rose from the marshy land it sits on. It comes from the Greek politica, meaning “affairs of the cities.” Maybe that origin doesn’t blow you away. It shouldn’t really be a surprise. Politics has always been, in its truest form, about caring for the day-in, day-out affairs of our communities, local, national, and even international. Politics is about how we care for our collective whole, rather than how we might selfishly care for ourselves. Politics is about how we move forward as a community – as a whole. It is not about the preservation of the status quo. Politics, in its truest form, is about how to grow as a society and as a community.
 
And so, from this moment on, let’s do our best to understand the word “politics” to be about our collective, less-biased efforts to grow and thrive in community.
 
Now that we have a better definition of “politics,” let’s return to our initial question: “What’s informing what?” Or “What’s forming what?” To explore this, let’s take a pretty obvious example. In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus teaches:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
 
If our politics forms our faith, we might look at this passage and make the following argument: There are so many in this world that seem to be out to get us. No matter where you look, it seems that there are enemies of the United States, and no matter how much I try to do the right thing, it seems that there is no escape. We need to do everything we can in our power to eliminate those who hate us. Certainly, Jesus understands that we need to protect ourselves. I can love my enemies and still do what I need to do to stop them, right?
 
This perspective doesn’t sound that unfamiliar, does it. And, quite frankly, it’s not hard to justify it (I’ve done it, myself). But, what if we let our faith form our politic? Let’s take a look at the same scripture: There are so many in this world that seem to be out to get us. No matter where you look, it seems that there are enemies of the United States, and no matter how much I try to do the right thing, it seems that there is no escape. What would it look like for me to love them, though? Have I been praying for them? Have I tried to understand where they’re coming from, even if I don’t agree with them? When I’m voting, I wonder which candidate is praying for those who are against them and their campaign? When I’m signing petitions, does the proposed law seem to extend love or withhold it?
 
Don’t get me wrong, this second approach is much more difficult, far more often. That’s because Jesus’ teachings, when we look closely, are quite challenging. (I’d encourage you to keep practicing this with other teachings of Jesus).
 
And so, my commitment to you as your pastor is this: our church’s affiliation will be to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will continue to preach that same gospel and encourage you to let that same good news inform and form you in every way. Will we always agree? Of course not. And so in these spaces, let patience, love, and grace reign, and let the gospel inform and form our every relationship and interaction. Let the gospel inform and form our compassion and generosity. Let the gospel of Jesus Christ inform and form our desires for a more loving and just community and our individual and collective actions toward that end.
 
I just know that there’s a word for that…
 
That’s right… politics.
 
Love one another.
Pastor Brian
 
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July 2022 Connection

“Preparing the Way”

Beginning in 1958, my grandparents, Melvin and Jane West, began renting a summer cottage in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, a small town on Martha’s Vineyard island. As school teachers, they’d take a majority of the summer to travel out there with my dad and uncle in the car’s backseat. They’d spend days on the beach with friends, old and new. After two summers of doing this, my grandparents were
presented with the possibility of buying a cottage in the historical campground. With the help of some friends, they purchased a small cottage at 4 Forest Circle for $1,800. The cottage which is now nicknamed, “Reunion,” was first built in the 1860’s and maintains the essence of that initial design today. Nearly 100 years after this cottage began making memories for families before us, it has, for the last
62 years, been a place for retreat and reunion for the West family.
 
As you read this article, Stephanie, the kids and I are getting back from a 9 day visit to the Martha’s Vineyard cottage and a reunion with my dad’s side of our family. As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that my grandparents, their sons, their grandchildren, and now their great-grandchildren have all enjoyed this place, and will continue to for years – even generations.
 
I reflect on this, not to suffer you though someone else’s vacation stories (who doesn’t love that?), but to ask a meaningful question: are we always aware of the fact that our decisions and actions will have an impact on generations to come? That sounds more ominous that it is intended, but I suspect you get my point. Did my grandparents have any idea that their real estate purchase would become a special – even spiritual – place for our family? Did they know that we’d build memories with our kids there? Did they know that ashes of our beloved would become part of the ground on which the cottage sits? Did they know that other families would begin their own traditions on Martha’s Vineyard because of that
space? I suspect that they did know, and I suspect they’d be pleased to know it worked!
 
The decisions we make today, as well as the actions we take today as a church, are not only accomplishing ministry and mission in the here and now, but preparing the way for the church (the
Body of Christ) that will come after each of us. You see, ministry is rarely looking back at what was (or what we perceive to have been), but rather looking forward. At times, it requires us to take a leap of
faith. At other times, it requires us to change. If we’re willing to take steps to set the stage for the church to come, we are, in a very real way, preserving the faith.
 
Amen. 
Pastor Brian
 
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June 2022 Connection

“Strive for the A”

A few years ago, I initiated a church program called “Strive for the A.” It was a program that challenged people to strive toward a 90% or higher worship attendance during the year. You’ll remember, a 90% or higher was an “A” on a report card, right? That said, no one at the church was keeping official record or sending out report cards, nor was the point to drudge up repressed anxious memories of grade school marking periods, or anything like that. It was simply to encourage regular worship attendance. And so, let me issue the same challenge for the remainder of 2022. Strive for the A!
 
Some Things to Know:
  • Life happens to each one of us! And you know what I mean by “life.” And so, don’t put an unrealistic expectation on yourself to have perfect attendance. Would it be nice? Sure! Is it practical? Probably not. And so, don’t think that a church usher will show up on your porch if you miss a Sunday or anything like that. This is an encouragement – not a law.
  • Don’t forget that you can still worship with us online. Now, I know that worshiping online just isn’t the same thing as being in-person. Of course it’s not! But it still counts! But gone are the days of having to feel fully disengaged from the church on Sundays when we’re sick or out of town. Remember that you can always worship with us live at 9am on Sundays on our YouTube channel, or throughout the week, any time after that!
  • Even though you don’t have to actually track your worship attendance (in-person or online), I would encourage you to do so anyway. Whether it’s on the notes app on your phone, on a calendar, or even just a piece of paper or notebook, tracking it can help you realize the difference it makes in your life.
 
Why Should I Strive for the A? (you may or may not be asking that question, but just go with me…)
  • First and foremost, community (or congregational) worship is an extremely important part of who we are as Christians and what we do. It is about celebrating our God who loves us more than we can ever fully understand. Worship isn’t something we should feel we have to do. Rather, the goal is that we come to experience worship as something we want to do. That said, building a routine around worship can be very helpful. Some days will require a bit more self-motivation than others, but I’ve never regretted going to worship.
  • Worship is kind of like charging your phone at the end of the day. Sunday worship helps us feel recharged with God’s Spirit. Worship helps us to reconnect with God – plug-in, if you will. When you make worship a regular part of your weekly routine, you’ll start to notice, even more, when you miss a Sunday. It’s much like forgetting to charge your phone at night. The week just starts off…well, off!
  • I (Pastor Brian) will be sad if you don’t strive for the A. Okay, I won’t be sad, per se, but I really do hope that you will make worship a regular part of your and your family’s weekly life. My job – my goal – is to help lead people on their faith journey with Christ. Worship is one of the ways that I can do that, and so I take worship very seriously. In planning worship, I typically plan about 6-12 months in advance, not so that I can brag about that, but so that I can create a big picture blueprint, if you will, for how we’re going to grow in our discipleship through worship. Each Sunday is carefully planned with a theme that builds on top of previous weeks, and lays the foundation for weeks and months to come. Now, let me be clear: don’t come for me! Come and worship because it is through worship that we come closer to God in Christ, and discover God’s call on our lives to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
And so, will you join me as, together, we strive for the A?
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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May 2022 Connection

Church-and-Rescue
(Get it?!)

 
In 2007, Arthur Allen, an oceanographer and member of the United States Coast Guard, put into practice an improved model of maritime search and rescue that became known as Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS). Say that three times fast! This was a result of nearly a decade of work studying the push and pull of bodies of water on everything from distressed swimmers and kayaks, to lost-at-sea ships and even aircraft. What became known as “Drift Analysis,” Arthur was able to bring great improvement to a process of search and rescue that, though already underway in its earliest form, would ultimately benefit immensely from the changes he proposed. To be fair, though, Arthur’s proposed changes were not welcomed by all, especially those who believed that the many years old processes of search and rescue were “good enough.”
 
Now, you might suspect that my purpose in sharing this story is to say that we can’t always do things the way we always have because new ways can be a great improvement, etc…etc. While there is a great amount of truth to that, my focus is rather on the boldness and innovation demonstrated by Arthur Allen, hardly a household name, to dedicate his life’s work to exploring better ways of finding those who were lost at sea. He believed that, while there was merit to the original practices of search and rescue, there might be better and more successful ways of saving the lost.
 
See where this is going?
 
We all get to be a version of Arthur Allen for Christ’s church, don’t we? Many of us remember times, not all that long ago, when it seemed as though you could just open the church doors and people would show up, connect, join the church, and spend lifetimes as part of the congregation. As time has passed, we’ve learned that it doesn’t really work like that, anymore. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which are actually really good, but that’s a topic for another book – or volumes of them.
 
And so, now we have to look at the vast waters of the community in which we live and serve as a church and ask ourselves, how can we, like Arthur Allen, search the waters differently for the lost. With our journey of 1800 feet to the street a few weeks ago on Palm Sunday, we begin the work of building meaningful and lasting relationships with the Grand Blanc community. While it may not be search and rescue, so to speak, it is a process of boldly and creatively declaring that we can, in fact, build upon what we’ve done in the past to discover effective ways of gospel sharing, relationship building, and church growing.
 
Join me, won’t you, as we survey the waters around us, learn more about how the waters flow, and discover those adrift, so that we might serve, love, and demonstrate the grace of God to the world around us.
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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April 2022 Connection

Drawing the Church Family Back Together

As spring is upon us, Easter is on the near horizon, and flowers are getting ready for planting and blooming, I am also growing more and more (cautiously) optimistic that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. With that optimism also comes an awareness that everyone is exploring their own ever-changing comfort levels with gatherings, masks, and so many more considerations we’ve never fathomed before.
 
That said, I want to offer this reminder: as a congregation and church family,  each and every one of our family members are loved and cared about. For those of you who are (or have been) ready to resume many of your familiar rhythms in the life of the church, we are glad that you are here and we give thanks for you! For those who are still exercising increased caution around your health in light of COVID-19, we are glad that you remain part of our family, and we give thanks for you! Though you’re perhaps not ready to be a part of in-person gatherings yet, we are hopeful that you’re finding time to worship with us virtually, stay connected, exercise your generosity through giving, and support the church through your prayers and willingness to serve as a follower of Christ in meaningful, albeit different ways. Please know that when you are ready to return, we are excitedly waiting for you and saving space for you.
 
Finally, a challenge throughout this pandemic has been that each one of us have, to at least some extent, lost some of the rhythm of our routines – the practices and interactions that make life click. It’s entirely understandable if the routines of worship and discipleship have faded for some – certainly not intentionally, but simply by happenstance. If this is the case for you or someone you know, please know that you are loved, we are excited for your return, and a space is saved for you, always.
 
Easter is about discovering resurrection from the tombs of life – and we’ve experienced a lot of those lately. As we draw this family called GBUMC back together, all in time, we are also drawing our circle wider, seeking to welcome, include, and celebrate God’s amazing grace with new faces, as well as familiar faces. Perhaps you know of someone in your life who just might find themselves at home here at GBUMC – or more importantly, might find themselves at home in God’s love. My challenge to you is to take a chance and invite them for worship, if not for Easter Sunday, any Sunday! 
 
As spring is upon us, Easter is on the near horizon, and flowers are getting ready for planting and blooming, we are excited to be the church with you, today, tomorrow, and for years ahead!
 
Pastor Brian
 
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March 2022 Connection

“Care Is Christian”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.
“Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
 
As I have shared openly before, I am grateful for the availability of mental health care, counseling, and psychotherapy (a technical word for talk therapy with a mental health provider) in my life and for the way it helps me to not only treat and control my depression and anxiety, but also for the ways that it can help me make the enormity of life and all of its chaos a bit more manageable. I sincerely believe that destigmatizing mental health and the care and treatment of it is one of the most important things we can do to care for the whole person.
 
And so, I say once again, if you are ever feeling as though it would be helpful to talk to someone about your mental health, there are a number of starting points. The first is that you can talk with your primary care provider (the doctor you go to most). They can help to point you in helpful directions for care that will best fit your needs. Also, it is not uncommon for our physical and mental health to overlap considerably. A second starting point is with me, your pastor. While I can offer pastoral care and limited counseling, I can also provide helpful referrals to mental health professionals who can be of considerable help.
 
As I share this, I am wanting to also share an experience that I had in my own counseling session just weeks ago. While talking with my therapist, I was describing how I responded, emotionally, to the experience of our family all having COVID-19. I happened to mention that I fought the temptation to react with frustration or exasperation, choosing instead to focus on naming what I could control verses what I could not control. For instance, I could not control that we were all sick at the same time. What I could control was my decisions to rest rather than work when time (and naps) allowed.
 
During this conversation, my therapist, Paul, reminded me of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr and its reminder that there are things we can change, and things we can’t, and that the things we can’t change can actually teach us something about ourselves and perhaps even our faith. And so, he asked the question: “What did you learn from having COVID-19, and will you share it with anyone?”
 
And so, my answer is this: I did learn something from the experience of having had COVID-19, and that is that life is fragile. And I don’t mean that in a doom and gloom sense. Instead, I mean that we are not invincible people who never need care, compassion and love. In a world that so often tells us to pull ourselves up, jump back on our feet and to get back to work, we need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to be kinder to one another. There is no weakness to be found in seeking help, and there is no weakness in naming that we have our limits.
 
Brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent when we turn our attention to our common humanity, let us reflect on the reality that we are all in need of God’s grace, we are all in need of one another’s kindness, and to care for ourselves as well as others is Christian!
 
Love for you,
Pastor Brian
 
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February 2022 Connection

Nervous While Preaching

While I was in seminary, I took a number of classes in homiletics, which focuses on the practice and ministry of preaching. One of my instructors was a pastor and preacher I greatly admire, Rev. Patrick Clayborn, who now pastors at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland – the first AME congregation, started by Richard Allen in 1785. I share that, not to lift myself up, but rather to give you a sense of the caliber of preacher Rev. Clayborn is. To say the least, I hung on his every word and instruction. I’ll never forget one evening’s class when he told us, “If you’re not nervous when you preach, then you’re not fully aware of what it is you’re doing.”
 
I’ve remembered this for years now, and I think about it regularly. His point was not to say that pastors ought to be trembling in their robes every time they preach, but rather that preaching is more than just giving a speech. It’s about sharing a reflection on the scriptures, and trusting – believing – that, if we are open to it, God will desire to speak through us. It’s also not to say that every word of every sermon
is gold! But at times, God can be revealed through the words of a prayerful and thoughtful sermon.
You see, if a preacher is aware of what they’re doing, nerves must enter into the equation. And so, when people ask if I’m nervous when I preach, my answer is yes. After years of doing it, the nerves don’t come out in shaking hands, necessarily, but rather in a focus on speaking more than just what’s on my mind,
but also what’s on my heart.
 
All of that said, my purpose of this article is to say “thank you!” When I started preaching on a weekly basis about 10 years ago, I quickly learned that it was something that I loved to do, and an aspect of my ministry in which I wanted to grow. I have fun when I preach! I enjoy laughing when I preach. I try to be
vulnerable when I preach. My hope is always to connect with others when I preach. But, ultimately, I pray that I am reflecting the love, grace, forgiveness, and good news of Christ.
 
So, now for the thanksgiving.
 
One particular gift of this congregation that I have been astounded by is your willingness to provide encouraging feedback to this preacher. I have lost count of the phone calls, emails, letters, and cards that I’ve received from so many of you remarking on one sermon or another. I also find it particularly touching when you share with me how a sermon connected with you. Again, none of this is to say that
I think every sermon I give is worthy of awards, let alone mention, but I hope that at least a few of them hit home.
 
I am forever grateful for your encouragement, for your reminders that my preaching matters in your lives and in the life of this church. I am thankful that I continue to have opportunities to learn new approaches to preaching and scripture interpretation, and I look forward to doing all of that along with you!
 
Nervous while preaching,
 
Pastor Brian
 
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January 2022 Connection

“Tomorrow”

Welcome to one of my shorter Connection newsletter articles. It’s not because I’ve grown tired of writing (it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words). Instead, I’m sharing with you a thought that will help us kick off the new year. It’s in the form of a question: “What do you hope that our church can be in the years to come?” As you consider that question, and formulate your own answer, let me offer two reminders: 
 
First, to authentically be the church, we cannot aim to be who we once were. Our God is one of transformation, a God who continues to call us into tomorrow without looking back. This doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from our past, but to desire to be only who we once were fails to see that we are the church in a new time with new needs and with new possibilities. 
 
Secondly, you are absolutely part of our tomorrow. Whether you’ve been in leadership positions for years, or have just begun a life with this church family, you are part of what God is doing in this church today as
we are led into tomorrow. The possibility of realizing your hope for our church in the years to come is dependent upon who you are ready to be for the church. God is calling each one of us – no exceptions – to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. For the church, today, to be the church tomorrow requires that we respond to God’s call in our lives with a resounding and energized “yes!” 
 
Will you join me in visioning and actualizing what we all hope this church can and will be for our community and world? Will you boldly step toward the potential of tomorrow’s new day without holding onto dreams of what used to be? Will you join me in a daily renewal of trust in God’s leading, calling, and creating?
 
What do you hope our church can be in the years to come?
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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December 2021 Connection

Already?

Is it possible that it is already December? Is it possible that Christmas is only 20 some days away? It can’t already be here, can it; the trees, the carols, the gifts, the dinners, the stillness? Can it already be Christmastime?!
 
Advent is a time of waiting, yes. But, more specifically, it’s a time of already-but -not-yet. We discover throughout the Bible, particularly in the New Testaments, reminders that Jesus’ presence in the world was the revelation of God’s kingdom. For instance, this familiar passage can serve as a good reminder:
“Whenever you enter a city and its people welcome you, eat what they set
before you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘God’s kingdom
has come upon you.” -Luke 10:8-9 (CEB)
This is what is meant by “already.” God’s kingdom, for a brief time came and dwelt among us. God took on human flesh and it was through Christ Jesus that we discover that divine love in a very real and tangible way. We call it the gospel – the “good news.” This is what we celebrate at Christmastime. We celebrate God’s revelation to us through the baby Jesus who would grow up, teach, preach, heal, and bring forgiveness and grace to all of God’s creation. We sing a familiar hymn, uttering the question, “Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am?” This is the already-ness of it all.
 
And still, not yet. Christmas is all about the already – God’s Kingdom realized in Jesus Christ. But Advent, the season of waiting that leads us toward Christmastime is about that Kingdom of God that is not yet fully realized.
Think of it a bit like a preview at the beginning of a movie. We’d never watch the preview and make the assumption that we’ve seen the entire movie. There is no way that the totality of a 2 hour movie could be completely relayed to an audience in 2 minutes. It’s not that we’re not watching parts of the movie, but there is still far more to realize, understand, and discover when we watch the full length version of the movie. The already-ness of Christmas is like the preview. We see Christ revealed to us in Jesus. We experience his love and grace in a way that helps us to better know the fullness of God, and yet the kingdom of God is not yet fully realized, actualized, or brought into being. This is what we are seeking in the time beyond Christmas.
 
Let’s look at it from one more angle. For Christians, the church year begins with Advent. This year, that began on November 28th and continues until Christmas Day. This is the not-yet time. This is a time of waiting in which we acknowledge that we are in need of God’s Kingdom. On Christmas Day, that gracious gift of God’s Kingdom is celebrated in the form of a child born in Bethlehem. The rest of the Christian year, we remember the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of God’s kingdom come. We celebrate God’s continued presence through the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, giving thanks that God still remains with us. And beyond that, we follow God’s leading through the Spirit to move toward the full realization of God’s kingdom come! We do this by sharing God’s grace and love in the world – a grace and love made evident through Christ, and evidenced through the grace we embody and the good we contribute to the world.
 
Advent is a time of already-but-not-yet. It is a time when we look forward to what we know can be. We celebrate the glimpse of it that will be revealed in Jesus Christ, and we pray for the day when we look around and see that God’s kingdom is now. So be it!
 
Pastor Brian 

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