Return and Remember
Beloved in Christ,
Last week, I spent a few days on retreat in the mountain desert of Northern New Mexico. It's a place I have returned to over and over again across the many different seasons of my life. It's a place where I am always intensely aware of the presence of God, and a place where remember who I am most essentially, pulling a consistent thread through the many different iterations my life has taken.
We all need places and people that help us return and remember, strengthen our root system, and plant us more firmly in the soil of God's love in the face of all life's ever-changing weather patterns.
The biblical prophets, whose voices sound loudly during Advent, are in the business of inviting us to return. We often imagine the word prophecy is about predicting the future, and being prophetic is about making some bold statement of justice. But the prophets of the Bible were about calling God's people to return to themselves, to their original vocation and purpose, whenever they lost the thread of what they were for. The story of scripture is the story of God's project to heal the world with love, and all the traditions, regulations, and laws are intended to help people participate fully in that project. The Spirit called prophets onto center stage whenever the people were drifting from that original purpose and project.
In these weeks of Advent, we hear again and again the prophets' call for repentance, and their promise of God's comfort and healing. In the midst of all the storms and uncertainties you are facing, and that we are facing together in the world, can we return, re-center, and re-root ourselves in Jesus, who is the perfect incarnation of God's healing love? Can we lay down all of our anxious striving to fix the world, and instead surrender our lives to God's power? As I heard someone say earlier today, the world is hard right now. Life is complex. The only way for us to find our way forward is to return, repent, and remember. You were made by love and for love. It is that simple, and that hard. Repent, return, remember, and join God in setting the world free.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya