There are stories embedded in our skin and words enfleshed in us, and so may you bless us with those who by tender touch release the tales, trace the lines, free the words one by one. Give to us those who will listen us into our own language till we are hoarse with the telling and with the laughter at being released from the silences we had kept so long. - Jan Richardson, Night Visions
Not to one but to many you have called: come on the dancing wind come from the deepest forest come from the highest places come from the distant lands come from the edge of darkness come from the depth of fear and become the bearer or God.
- Jan Richardson, Night Visions
On the first Sunday of Advent, Jubilee Faith Community, the newest ELCA congregation in Metro Chicago, called Pastor Michael Russell to be their pastor. But that was not all. Newly installed Pastor Russell installed the leadership team of Jubilee. The message of the day at Jubilee was a deep and spirit-filled one, "You don't have to wait any longer. Now is your time!" Even in this season of waiting, God is calling us from wherever we might be hiding out--calling us to come and become. In this season, may we become (again, for the first time) bearers of God. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
We are coming close to the celebration of Las Posadas, a traditional Mexican Advent celebration meaning "the inns." In this celebration, the whole community follows children dressed as Mary & Joseph who go from house to house asking, "In the name of God we beg: will you let us enter?" The party moves from house to house, turned away at every door, until at last they come to a place where they can at least use a stable and manger. There, the fiesta begins. In this photo, members of the Multisynodical Candidacy Committee in Wisconsin welcome in a new student at Wartburg Seminary. In our ELCA candidacy process, for those preparing for rostered ministry in the ELCA, the first step is "Entrance." This group of volunteers enter into relationship with people discerning God's call, for the good of the person and of the church, and labor with candidates to help in their discernment. They listen with that person considering this call from God and ask questions to evoke the Spirit's talking, not only to that person but through him or her. It is a tension-filled and exciting process to see God's Spirit working, even with all the ways it is hard to clearly hear God's call. We rejoice when we can say to women and men, "Come in! Enter into this process of bewilderment and questions, of wonder and joy." Just like the journey through Bethlehem, it is not an easy journey. It can feel discouraging at times, like doors are closing in our face. But, we journey together in the hope that we carry Jesus in and with us. Come and enter in! Pastor Joy
Move over the face of my deep, my darkness, my endless restless chaos, and create, O God; trouble me, comfort me, stir me up, and calm me, but do not cease to breathe your Spirit into my wakening soul.