As a servant to a faith community, I have the privilege of
presiding at the sacraments that commemorate events
across the span of life. I am there for baptisms, confirmations,
weddings, and funerals. As more time passes, it feels like these
rites live closer and closer together. Years merge together, and
memories grow crowded like the growing number of framed
pictures on my mantel that try to hold all the moments in one
place. Each of these moments maintains its place as both distinct
and interconnected, yet this vision in Hebrews of the circle of all
of life captures my imagination more. It reminds me that all the
sacraments are part of one healing sacrament, born in the vision
where God’s throne is forever. All our journeys begin and end
with God, and the sacraments remind us of the consummation
of love’s highest order to return to our Creator, who is eternal.
Long ago, on the first morning after God declared creation
to be good, the beacon of humanity’s redemption was a speck in
the eye of the Creator. It was already formed and simply waiting
to be brought forth. In God’s timing, there is no beginning and
no ending. There is only the eternal now. Jesus—both exalted
one and atonement, heir of all and present at creation, the beginning
and the end. Such an idea is prescient to us on the final day
As we reach the end of another year, I can feel the pulse
of a new year starting to beat. Such a rhythm resounds in the
vein of God’s hands, where the temporal and eternal meet in a
May God open our eyes to what lies before us, extend us the grace to bless what lies behind us, and then welcome us into the now of Christ’s reign.
Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle binds these passages together with unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. The God whom these texts celebrate is a God who reigns in strength and whose activity on behalf of humankind is timelessly ancient. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then a note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at Creation, the eternal Word, “became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
• Read Isaiah 52:7-10. Where do you see signs of God’s peace amid the world’s brokenness?
• Read Psalm 98. Where in your life has a new beginning come most startlingly from an ending?
• Read Hebrews 1:1-12. When you next celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, re ect on how God has brought healing to your life.
• Read Luke 2:22-40. When have you been surprised by an inbreaking of God’s extraordinary love in an ordinary moment?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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