Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Oh, “tear open the heavens and come down.” This is Isaiah’s prayer appointed for the first Sunday in Advent. We pray that prayer, Lord Jesus, come. Come in dramatic ways. Come into our hearts. Come into our communities. Come into our nation. Come into our world.
2020 has been quite a year. Last week the United Methodist Committee on Relief called 2020 one long emergency. Over ninety appeals have been made for UMCOR assistance this year. We remember wildfires in the American West. In the last several weeks, three typhoons have devastated areas of the Philippines. UMCOR has been engaged throughout Africa during the pandemic. A derecho straight-line winds devastated communities in Iowa, and hurricanes impacted Louisiana twice, and other areas as the hurricanes came up from the Gulf and moved northward. Just last week, hurricane Iota devastated people and communities in Honduras and Nicaragua. And so, as Christmas comes, we invite a Conference-wide offering for United Methodist Conference Committee on Relief for national and international response. In this way, we join hands with other United Methodist people as we pray and give so that human need is met wherever people are impacted by natural disaster.
The second thing I would invite is your participation in evening complines. Virtually you can worship with others across our Annual Conference. These services, compline, meaning end of the day, last prayer of the day, night prayer, have been prepared with numerous voices. Each is a short service of worship. As we worship together in the evening on every day during the season of Advent, the Holy Spirit will draw us into greater love and beloved community together.
God hears our prayers. God is ready to come to us anew, so let us open our hearts and our lives, particularly in these two ways together. Invite an offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief and join in evening worship day by day through the season of Advent.
Come, Lord Jesus.