Arise and Shine!

The light has come…


by Rev. Jeffrey L. Barker

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

A new year has dawned and we just completed the past year with a flurry of ministry and worship events in our parish. 

In late November we completed our annual Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive.  Over 70 baskets were given out to community members and the families of Broadview Women’s Shelter.  Once again the kids from Olympic View Elementary School donated $300 to help buy turkeys from their “Quarters for Turkeys” outreach.

In December we hosted a well attended Holiday Bazaar, and approximately $500 was raised from food and craft sales for the benefit of the church.  As we moved closer to Christmas, we focused on our Salvation Army “Toy n’ Joy” giving tree outreach.  On December 15, a volunteer came to pick up the toys and gifts we gathered.

During Advent, we also took part in the Church of the Brethren special Advent Offering.  On Christmas Eve we hosted a well attended candlelight service with 50-60 gathered.  We concluded the service by forming a circle of people in the sanctuary.  We then doused the lights, lit individual little candles, and sang Silent Night. 

As the song and service concluded, I asked folks to remain in place for a few moments.  I wanted us all to simply savor the moment and flavor of the light and love present in the sanctuary.  O, the peace, love and joy evident in the church that blessed night!

In our current world, it is so easy to give in to the feeling of hopelessness, fear, darkness and cynicism so prevalent and posted on TV and social media.  In times like these, believers are called and challenged to awake, arise and let our Christian lights shine!  We are ever called to remember that the light and love of Christ came down on Christmas Eve to bring God’s light and love into the world and the hearts of believers all over the world.

As we go forth into a new year, let us remember the love and light of Christ.  A light and force of love that cuts through the darkness of our world, and the problems and divisions which keep us from experiencing Christ’s loving presence.

Please consider reading and meditating on the first Gospel lectionary reading of 2016.  It is from St. John’s Gospel, Chapter 1, verses 1-5.  In particular, in times of fear and doubt, remember verse 5: “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it!”

People of God, in this newly dawning year 2016, awake, arise, the light has come, Christ is born!

Happy New Year, and peace be with you all,

Pastor Jeff

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