By The Very Rev. Daniel P. Richards
Advent is coming! Time to get out the candles and recommit ourselves.
The darkness is growing, and there are days when that is not just a tilt-of-the-earth reality; our world seems to pass under shadow. It is precisely now that we are reminded by the church year that we have a vocation in dark times, a vocation of waiting and bearing the Light of Christ.
In our Gospel today, Jesus is talking about the collapse of what his hearers knew as their world, politically and religiously, and their persecution. In the middle of it, he says, “Don’t get defensive, I will give you the words to say. Don’t worry, be faithful.”
We form who we will be in times of crisis by how we train ourselves in times of peace. We practice the life we are called to when we hold out peace with each other, when we work out the small frustrations and changes of community life. If we lose our ethics when people talk about us, what will we do when they actually persecute us? If we are thrown off when the room we are assigned to meet in changes, what will we do when there is no institution?
This Sunday is about commitment. We pledge ourselves to this community financially in prosperous times of peace. We tithe. It is a primary way of marking our lives as people of God. It is not easy; commitments never are. But it, along with prayer and gratitude and faith, marks us and shapes us as disciples of Jesus.
Commit and be shaped for the days ahead.