First Sunday of Advent 2014
During this Advent Season, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward explores the Lectionary text through the lens of the Imagine No Malaria campaign. Please consider sharing these videos in your faith communities.
Grace and peace to you today in the name of Jesus Christ.
We begin this Advent remembering the humble circumstances into which our Lord Jesus Christ was born, and we begin to prepare to receive Christ in fullness as Christmas comes. Here in my lap is a mosquito net. As we place mosquito nets over our mangers this Holy season, we give to Imagine No Malaria.
Why is malaria such a problem in sub-Saharan Africa? There is much standing water, seasonally. There are many, many mosquitos and there are few resources, mosquito nets, and medicine. United Methodist people are imagining a world in which there is no malaria. As we give gifts in this Holy season, honoring the Christ child, every $10 offered can buy a net, or it can provide 2 rounds of medication for a person who has malaria. In the last seven years, the efforts of United Methodist people and Imagine No Malaria, has been a large force in reducing malaria deaths from 1 million in 2007 to 600,000 in 2012. We imagine a world without malaria.
The Psalm for the 1st Sunday in Advent is Psalm 80, “Come to us, O God, shine upon us that we might be saved.” This is our prayer as we begin this journey of Advent. God, come and save all your people – all your people
Thank you for your generosity through Imagine No Malaria.
Second Sunday of Advent 2014
In this Second Sunday of Advent, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reflects on the story of John the Baptist in light of the Imagine No Malaria Campaign.
Peace to you in this season of Advent.
The 2nd Sunday in Advent, we focus upon John, who comes out of the wilderness proclaiming baptism for the repentance of sins. I hold in my hands two beautiful shells. These shells were picked up off the coast of North Carolina and if I hold them to my ear and listen very carefully, you know what I can hear. I hear the sound of the ocean.
Many of us have been at the manger many times; others of us are coming to the manger, this Christmas, for the very first time. Whether this is a familiar place to us, or a new place to us, it’s a place of drawing closer and closer to Jesus, who comes to us at Christmas.
The message of John, “repent, and believe,” resonates for us as we take our Advent journey.
One way we turn toward Christ more and more, is our own growth in generosity. During this season of Advent, we, together with all United Methodist people, will give generously toward Imagine No Malaria. This manger is covered with a mosquito net. In a very real sense, you see here the result of your generosity, for babies and children sleep under mosquito nets in Africa. They are protected from the mosquitos who carry this disease. When a child is bitten by a mosquito in Africa, they are very likely to die within two days.
Your gifts will make a difference. Thank you for the generous Advent and Christmas offering that you will receive this year.
May the peace of Christ be with you and with all who God loves.
Third Sunday of Advent
On this Third Sunday of Advent, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reflects on Mary’s Magnificat and the significance of giving to the Imagine No Malaria campaign during this season.
Joy to you in this Holy season – the same joy of which Mary sang in the magnificat.
This Mozambican depiction of Mary reminds us of her glorious song. “You have shown strength, O Lord. With your mighty arm, you have lifted up those who are poor, you have brought down those who are powerful, you have filled those who are hungry and you have sent the rich, empty, away.” Mary sings of the righteousness and love and justice and grace of God.
In this Holy season, as we prepare to receive Jesus Christ into our midst, we sing this same song. Your generosity through Imagine No Malaria is a magnificent gift. It is, in it’s own way, a magnificat, a way of singing glory to God. Through our offerings, children are protected under mosquito nets, such as this one draping the manger. People are receiving medicine and treatment when they have become ill with malaria. Whole communities are learning how to deal with water as it collects seasonally, and stands as a breeding place for mosquitos. In all of these ways, Imagine No Malaria, is a comprehensive effort to eradicate malaria from the continent of Africa.
Thank you for your magnificat, your magnificent gifts this Holy season, as we sing Mary’s song together- “Great is our God.” Joy to you this day.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
In this Fourth Sunday of Advent, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reflect on Christ’s birth and the peace that can come on earth from generously giving to the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
Peace on earth, goodwill to all.
The magnificent song of the angels resonates as Christmas draws very near. Christ is born. The song of the angels which the shepherds heard on the hillside is a beautiful expression for God’s desire for all humanity and all creation. Peace on earth, goodwill to all.
During this season, your gifts for Imagine No Malaria are generously offered, and they will make a difference in the lives of people half a world away. Your generosity also is a blessing to you, for in giving, you’re experiencing the presence and power of God in your life. We give thanks for the vision of which the angels sang long ago. We sing this vision still, in our prayers and in our hopes.
As Christmas draws near, we pray for every place of need – places still greatly impacted by malaria and Ebola and other diseases; places torn apart by war, places where bombs fall, places where refugees flee. We pray also in our own communities for every heart that is broken in some way as Christmas comes.
May the gift of Christmas be full and abundant in our lives, that we may joyfully be Christ’s body, faithfully giving witness in the world. May this be our Christmas hope and our Christmas prayer.
Peace on earth, goodwill to all.