One big thing we often forget to do as people of faith is be happy. Be joyful. See this world as and our lives and those who share it with us as a gift. We get so caught up into rules and debates and what we need to be doing next that those moments just fly by – or we miss them completely. We serve a God who created the hippo and giraffe, who gives us rainbows in the sky and sunsets on the horizon, who invites us to sing songs and dance and clap, who breaks into this world with absurd promises and actions of healing and love.
On that cross, two thousand years ago, God lost a son. As the centurion said after Christ’s final breath, “Truly, this man was God’s son.” God’s son died. And Patrick’s words remind me that we don’t serve a God who punishes us with pain, but a God who enters into that pain with us. We serve a God of such extreme freedom and possibility that God was willing to give up a child so that we may be reunited in love
We in our world today often hide from our brokenness. But there is a funny thing I have experienced through life. Whenever I have been the most broken in spirit, I have seen God more present in my life. I don’t think it is that God is trying harder in those times. God’s always there. Rather, it is that I am finally taking notice of God, instead of thinking I can do it all on my own.
And the same is for us in prayer. Our daily lives are filled with so much noise and worries and thoughts, we barely pay attention to the present moment we are in. We don’t notice the smells, the sounds, the sights that are around us. We miss people and conversations. We miss the gift that I am alive and this day did not have to be.
God sees in each one of these children, people who are meant to fly, who like Isaiah writes, are meant to soar like eagles.
In Advent, we are called to be witnesses of God’s goodness. We are called to sing out God’s great love in Christ. In this season, we remember that even in such a messy and broken world as ours, God chose to come and live as one of us, to teach us, heal us, save us, and claim us as beloved children. And we remember that Christ is coming again.
One of the most quoted scripture passages are these words in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The miracles of God may look different today than they did in Joshua’s day. But miracles are still happening in our church and in our world. God is still making a way.
God has promised to be there and be at work in everything that is to come. God’s mercy and justice and love will go with us. But it won’t always be easy to see and notice. Even Moses only gets a quick look as God is already moving past.
For many of us, we think of Jesus’ grace as something that wipes our ledger clean, something that gets us a pass into heaven. That’s true, but Jesus’ grace is so much more than that. It is a grace that claims our whole lives. It is a grace that makes us into new and more holy people. It is a grace that makes us work for justice and freedom, care about oppression and lift up those who have been hurt.