Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I have decided to share reflections/messages from our Presiding Bishop and our Diocesan Bishop. May you enjoy their message, this season, and our Community of Faith here at All Saints!
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Christmas Message 2015
Hello. Our original plan was for me to tape a Christmas message in front of the United Nations building in New York as a way of sending a message that this Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow came to show us the way to a different world, a world rounded in God's peace and God's justice, God's love and God's compassion.
I recently had surgery and so we had to change those plans and so I'm here in Raleigh on Capitol Square. Christ Church is here and we're filming this message here just as a way of giving me a chance to say "Thank you" to all of you who sent cards and prayers in my recent surgery. I'm doing well and I'm coming back to work.
But I did want to say something to you. It occurs to me that this Jesus of Nazareth really does make a difference. And God coming into the world in the person of Jesus matters profoundly for all of us regardless of our religious tradition.
In the park across from the United Nations, the Ralph Bunche Park, the words of the Prophet Isaiah are quoted,
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks
Nation will not rise against nation
Neither shall they learn war any more
What's not there is another part of that passage that's in the second chapter of Isaiah, and it says,
Come, let us go to the mountain of God,
That he may show us His ways and teach us His paths
We who follow Jesus believe that the mountain came to us when God came among us in the person of Jesus to show us the way to live, to show us the way to love, to show us the way to transform this world from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends for us all.
So, as the words were spoken on that night when Jesus was born, peace, good will to all people, God bless you, God keep you. A blessed Advent, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all.
From our Bishop, +Porter Taylor
"I'll be home for Christmas." I used to listen to Elvis Presley sing this over and over as a child in the 1950s. While the song is probably never going to make it into the hymnal, it contains a truth worth embracing. As we await Christmas, let's remember that the heart of this holy day is homecoming. God is making God's home on earth--not just in a tent of meeting as with Moses--but in our flesh. Christmas is above all else a love story--"For God so loved the world that God sent God's only Son." We could not get to God; therefore God came to us.
This mystery affects us. When God becomes our home, then our whole notion of home expands. It's why in Luke's gospel the magi went "home a different way." It's why Mary and Joseph don't immediately return to Nazareth but take a detour to Egypt. Our real home is with God, not any house or place or nation.
Therefore, our commission as Christ bearers is to help people find their way home both spiritually and physically. Yes, we are to invite all persons into the spacious house of the Lord by spreading his radical good news, but we are also to do all we can so people have houses that become homes so that they can flourish as children of God. Our wellbeing is connected to their wellbeing. The home God makes on earth in Jesus is bigger than any structure of national boundary.
This week I have been so moved by the Canadian example of welcoming the Syrian refugees. I am certain there are many national security issues concerning immigration that I cannot fathom, but I do know this: Because I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to live in a world where leaders greet refugees as the Canadian Prime Minister greeted the Syrian refugees, by saying, "Welcome to your new home." As a follower of Jesus, I want to live in a country where a small Canadian girl greets these refugees by saying, "My country is now your country" (which sounds a lot like Ruth talking to Naomi). I want us as Christians to pronounce a homecoming to all people, which gets us beyond our narrow definitions of country and tribe and religion. I want our vision of home to expand so that we can cast a larger vision as did Mary and Zechariah and Simeon. And I want our leaders to work for a world where this vision can become a reality.
What do I want for Christmas? I want God to be born in me and you and all God's children so that our calling to come home makes the world and our country more hospitable and more peaceful. During Advent this is the world worth praying for and moving towards by reorienting (another word for conversion) ourselves. If we find our way home, we will have to welcome others there as well because that's what it means to be home with our Lord.
"O come O come thou Key of David come, and open wide our heavenly home; make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel."
See ya Christmas Eve and Sunday!
In Christ's Love and Blessing this Christmas,
All Saints Messenger >