"Live by the Spirit, take time to worship God".

A sign in Minnesota contrasted the temptation of heading to church and going fishing on a Sunday with a witty proclamation: "Sure, you can worship God with a fishing pole in our hand, but when was the last time a trout told you your sins are forgiven?" The Apostle Paul was no less a wordsmith when he said to the church in Galatia "Live byGalatians5 16 the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). He longs to remind the faithful that their place is a place of strength, a place of support, and a place of transformation. Our gatherings of the faithful are not the refuge of the perfect or the respite for those who have achieved the saintly life. No, the church is the place where we stand together in order to see the help we need and discover the grace required to face life with confidence and hope even when we feel weak and helpless.

The power of the Good News speaks about a Savior who comes to be like us in order to speak to us. In doing so, Jesus stirs our souls with more than that we are sinful and broken; he tells us that God's love will make us whole in relationships and faithful in service. This is why the child of Bethlehem is born, to grant a world struggling with brokenness and self-interest to see that it can be so different.


We have just made it through a frantic season and my prayer is that our society will hear the worlds of the great pastor and theologian Howard Thurman, who wrote the best summation of the Incarnation of Christ when he said, "When the song of the angels is stilled, the star in the sky has gone, when the kings and shepherds have found their way home, the work of Christmas has begun!" Yes, a new year is here and the best awaits: may our city, its people, and its communities of faith look forward to the work of love, sharing, and joy each and every day of 2017!




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