Pastor’s Corner – December 2021
The story is told of John Henry Newman, who, in the 1800’s, was an Anglican minister in England. His religious pilgrimage ultimately took him to Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. He ultimately would become a cardinal in the Catholic Church and the most preeminent leader of that church in Europe. If you go into almost any Catholic church today you will find a Sunday school class called the Newman class. That was named after John Henry Newman.
While serving as Cardinal, he received a message from an English priest from the tiny village of Brennan, a dirty little mill town north of Birmingham. It seems that an epidemic of cholera had decimated the village and the priest was asking for the help, for another priest to assist him in the giving of the sacrament, administering the Last Rites, and to do funerals, so many people were dying.
Newman read the letter in his office, an office that is still there today. It has not been changed since the day he left it. Newman read the letter and he spent the next hour in prayer. Finally a secretary came in and said: Cardinal Newman. We must give an immediate reply to Brennan. Your eminence, what shall we do? Newman answered: The people are suffering and dying. How can I send a priest to do this work? I must go myself.
At Advent God looked down upon his dying people dying from sin and distraction, pride and preoccupation. How, under the circumstance could he send a substitute? He came himself—in the person of Jesus Christ.
How secure are you as we enter this Advent season? Is your marriage less than solid? Is your job at risk? Do you have medical problems? Have lost a loved-one in the last year? Insecurity could be part of your Advent season.
Emmanuel, “God with us” is our assurance that God is always beside us. Therefore, let the Messiah replace your insecurity this Advent with the following bedrock conviction: God and you are in this together. Nothing can happen that God and you together cannot manage. Nothing will ever be able to separate you from his love. Now, that’s real security.
Advent Blessings to you all!