Dear Parish Family,
Advent, a season of hope and expectation, is exactly what our world needs. Hope amid wars and rumors of wars. Hope amid political upheaval. Hope amid earth quakes, floods, and fires. Hope amid sectarian and racially motivated violence. The list could go on. Some may come back and say, “not here, in my part of the world” but sadly it is all around us. Barrie has had its tornado, ice storms, poverty, street violence, sex crimes and drug deaths. This is the world we live in. This is just the world which cried out to God for salvation.
The darkness of this world makes the light of Christ brighter. The stress and fears of our time are overwhelming but we live by faith. The question for us is not how dark is the world but how bright is our life of faith. We live in hope because we believe in the work of God. God did not, and has not, figuratively thrown up His hands and walked away. God continually empowers, through the Holy Spirit, the faithful to stand up and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The power of love and grace to bring healing and wholeness to our world is not a dream but neither is it a simple wave of a magic wand. It is a well “fought fight.” It is a struggle full of self sacrifice, seeking to lift and serve the dignity and worth of every human being – the very image of God. To be a “co-worker” with God is not something one can live without preparation. St. Paul described it as putting on “the whole armour of God.” It is also described as “putting on Christ” and in another passage as “having the mind of Christ.” These are attributes we cannot “put on,” or have, without knowing who we are called to serve. Many false images of God have clouded the true nature of God and the message of inclusion (being found in Christ: salvation for the lost) in the Gospel. We need to strive for a sound foundation in the full Gospel of Jesus Christ which can only be achieved by studying the Scriptures and the collective wisdom of the Spirit guided community of the faithful. Advent is a season to remind ourselves of this fundamental truth and the need to spend time in preparation for the coming of Christ.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I encourage us all to spend time reading the Scriptures. Seek clarification and ask questions, not just to know, but also how this wisdom can be applied in our daily lives. Be still in this time of chaos and know that the God who sent Jesus Christ into this world is still empowering that message of love and hope. As the Angels proclaimed to the shepherds, “Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace, good will towards mankind.” We have been called to embody that message of hope.
“Let your light shine before others that they my see your good works and glorify” God.
The Reverend Canon David Warren