A heavy burden weighs down on the faithful people of my two rural congregations this Advent season. The mood of this rather dark hymn reminds me of the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I wonder what is happening in the deep recesses of their minds. Sometimes the person dies quickly, a blessing to family and friends on an emotional roller coaster, hoping for just a glimmer of recognition from their loved one. Sometimes, the patient lingers for years, vainly waiting the morrow. Do they understand that Christ is coming soon? Will not day come soon?
Then there is our council president, struck down in his 50’s by an insidious cancer that is rapidly taking him way too soon. Why is it that the families that live in the deepest shadows seem to have the strongest faith? He is a sorrowful wanderer who is certain that Christ’s light does beam over the land of the needy.
Hope comes in the form of the farmers who plowed their stricken neighbor’s farm, in the comfort of worship and music, in the laughter of our children, in the challenge of confirmation classes, in the beauty of nature, and in the selfless love of our animals.
1 Thessalonians reminds us that death comes like a thief in the night, that we do not know the time. We are all dying. Some of us are more aware of that than others. Hope lies in our awareness of the light of Christ that shines in the darkness.
Let us pray. Dear God, keep us alert to your faithful presence. Help us to be kinder to one another. Let those who seem to walk in darkness awaken us to the light of our Redeemer who comes to save us all. AMEN
Questions to ponder like Mary:
- Has your faith ever been strengthened by someone facing a difficult time?
- Why do we continue to pray for peace and are you and/or your congregation doing anything to bring about peace? What kind of peace is Jesus talking about?
Pastor Judy Wozniak, St. Paul, Lakota and Bethany, Thompson