Sunday, December 20, 2009

The fourth Sunday of Advent

This is Ballyhoo United Methodist Church's Advent wreath; isn't it pretty? I think so. Today's theme was PEACE, and the family who were chosen to light the Peace Candle read from the passage in Philippians about the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

It has been a year now that my family and I have been attending this church. It was difficult for me at first, to be honest; it's a different denomination than I grew up in, and I was surprised at my inherent personal biases that really surfaced for me during the year. I can now look back and see that God had a personal journey He wanted me to take. Just like the passage in Acts where the apostle Peter was confronted in a dream about his prejudices, God confronted me about mine. It kinda hurt, too, because I had this image of myself as a non-judgmental, accepting person who didn't assume things about people.

Not only am I a little bit different now than I was a year ago, I can see how this particular denomination's characteristics are uniquely suited to my personality and my beliefs. There are lots of ways in which I disagree with the United Methodist hierarchy in the way they do some things, but who ever agrees a hundred percent with any other human being anyway? In some very important ways, this little United Methodist church in this tiny little town is exactly the right fit for me right now at this place in my life.

Truly He taught us
To love one another;
His law is love
And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break
For the slave is our brother;
And in His name
All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy
In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us
Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord!
O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim.

--Adolphe Adam
translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight

Yes, He did teach us to love one another. And it's a place in my heart that God's been working on specifically for several years now.

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