BY REV. CORY L. KEMP |
My mom passed away a little over two months ago, so this is the first Advent, the first Christmas to come without her. I’ve shared a good bit about my last visit with her, and returning to Wisconsin a month later, in our Moravian Facebook Fellowship, as well as in other online faith-based communities.
What I’ve discovered is that there is more connection, more generosity and courage among us than seems readily apparent. I am in awe, humbled by our shared experiences, and how important it is to keep showing up and being present for one another in whatever way we can, especially in times of personal loss.
And personal loss of those we love is common to all of us.
What really strikes me is that our human lives do come to an end. Our faith compels us to believe, rightly so, that our souls live on forever in this God who chose to come be with us. It’s very easy to fool ourselves though, to slip into a false notion that the people we love will live forever.
And so, because we don’t, I’ve realized that grief creates its own form of hospitality, welcoming strangers, sojourners, those we will never meet or hear from again, into a kindred fellowship, if not always a shared language about this most human of experiences.
While grief is such a thick, heavy blend of remembering, staying present and moving on with one’s own life, I believe it represents the fullness of God’s graceful presence among us, particularly at this time of year.
Advent is always a new beginning, the reclaiming of the hope and the promise of God with Us. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he raises the most important thing of all: the urgency of what it means to live in the kingdom of God, here and now. “Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near.” Romans 13:11-12
We have this beautiful season of Advent before us, unfolding with the traditional cadence of worship, fellowship and personal memories that continue to feed our souls and serve our communities.
And, it is more besides.
Advent is a time of preparation, of recognizing that our time is limited, and that each season of our lives demands something from us. This is perhaps the most poignant paradox: that we live in the Great Mystery of God’s eternal presence, and, like Jesus, you and I live in historical time. We are each here at our appointed time to be ourselves, make a difference by living our faith in the best way we know.
The night is far gone, the day is near. You know what time it is. The moment has come for you and me to wake up to what is next.
And so, we begin again.
About the Author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.