To all our brothers and sisters who read this message, peace and all goodness be yours.
During this holy season our hearts and minds are drawn to the infant Jesus, the embodiment of the loving God we claim as our Father.
Our ancestors longed for this one who would “bring glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation and saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King!'”
We know that for centuries our ancestors longed for a savior to save them from slavery, poverty, injustice, and every form of violence.
And finally, their prayers were answered, but not as they wanted. The savior would not come to impose his will or use violence to achieve his kingdom.
The Savior came and simply re-iterated what the prophets said; that justice and peace were to be achieved by love and total self-giving, not by force or fear.
We were to look at Jesus and find there the person we were to become–loving, kind, gentle, forgiving and non-violent. We are to bring that peace!
So, the Savior was not to come to bring hell fire to achieve his goals, but humility and total giving without any trace of vengeance, violence or loud shouts.
Can that loving, peace-filled Christ be born again in us? If not, then the prophetic voice of Jesus will be muted and the world will continue to be a place of vengeance, violence, hate, fear, and selfishness. His death will be for many a worthless effort in self-giving.
It doesn’t need to be that way. The way we live and act, they way we care and share, the way we reach out to others and bring healing where there is pain, the way we search out those who are in need, all of this helps make Christ real and present for people.
The powerful reality that we are the power of Christ today ought to give excitement to our lives. Being a Christian is not boring, if we live as our baptism calls us to live–for others.
May the loving, peace-filled Christ be born again in your hearts. Again, we get to thank God for loving us so much that He sent his only Son to be our Savior, our guide and mentor. May we put on the mind and heart of Jesus.
On behalf of all the staff and Parish Council of All Saints, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a Peace-filled New Year.
Come worship with us at 8:00 or 10:30 any Sunday. We are located at 4051 N. 25th Street, in the heart of the city.
Sunday, December 2, is the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year and a four-week period of special readings and prayers to prepare us for the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, as an infant, the son of Mary.
Our Jewish ancestors traveled a rocky road during their entire history. And all through that history there were prophets who urged them to keep hoping that one day the reign of God would become a reality. That is also what we are hoping for today — that God’s reign will come on earth as it is in heaven.
In the first reading for Sunday Jeremiah speaks words of hope to a people enslaved and in a pitiable condition.
Yet, Jeremiah says: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he will do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: ‘The Lord our justice.'” (Jeremiah 33: 14-16)
We know that our redemption has already dawned with the coming of Jesus. But we also know that we don’t always see the reality of Christ’s presence in our own lives and in the world, so we need to go back every year and focus again on Jesus coming in the flesh. We also need to read the signs of the times so that we can make Christ’s presence in our lives and in the world a reality, not a far off dream.
And when we look around and see how many public officials have betrayed the trust we placed in them, we can lose heart. Many seem to have placed their own personal advantage ahead of that of the people. So many families are in disarray; hostility, anger, violence seems to be everywhere. And the sinfulness of our own church, due to human frailty, has left many of us disheartened and ready to leave the community of faith.
If these are the signs of the times, how can we remain hopeful? But these are not the only signs! In spite of all the violence, suffering and selfishness, we see heroism, love, respect, understanding, honesty, and unselfish service of others. In many of our brothers and sisters we see real holiness and fidelity. Our church, our government, our neighborhoods and our families have men and women who are on fire for justice and peace.
The four weeks of Advent give us a wonderful opportunity to go back and reflect on the fact that we can be transformed by the grace of God. We can prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, once again. We can change.
“Stand erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke)
Free text service raises awareness during National Infant Mortality Awareness Month
WASHINGTON/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — September marks National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and while millions of families prepare their children for a new school year, this is also a time to reflect on the thousands of families who have lost a child far too soon. The infant mortality rate (6 in 1,000 live births) in the U.S. is one of the highest among developed nations and rates are much higher within the African-American community, regardless of income, educational level, or location. More than twice as many Black babies die compared to their White counterparts during the first year of life, statistics that reflect a true health crisis in our community.
We know that providing mothers with the best possible information and access to care can help. This is where text4baby comes in. Text4baby is the nation’s first free text messaging service for pregnant women and mothers of infants under age one. Moms receive three text messages every week, timed to their due date or baby’s birth date, throughout pregnancy and up to baby’s first birthday. Moms get information on labor signs and symptoms, developmental milestones, breastfeeding, car seat and sleep safety, and many other topics. To sign up, text BABY to 511411.
In honoring Infant Mortality Awareness Month and striving to empower more moms with text4baby, those who sign up between September 1 and September 30 will be entered to win a year’s supply of baby products courtesy of the program’s Founding Sponsor, Johnson & Johnson. Learn more about the contest at www.text4baby.org.
Text4baby is a free service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. This month, we partner with the National Healthy Start Association and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., in tackling infant mortality through health education.
Text4baby is made possible through a public-private partnership. Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor. Founding partners include National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Voxiva, CTIA – The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company). Learn more: www.text4baby.org.
About National Healthy Start Association
The National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) is committed to improving birth outcomes and health disparities that exist within communities of color throughout the United States. Learn more: http://www.nationalhealthystart.org/.