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Take a breather

Slow and steady. One day at a time. As we “conspire” and breathe together in this season of Advent, counting up to the days of Christmas I invite you to take a “breather” and click on the video above. The Angel City Chorale is a group who have come together to sing. To share good news that we can be united amidst our differences and of one voice. The song they are signing “Baba Yetu” is the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili. Click here to watch a version of this song with the lyrics translated.

For many years in the days of waiting and watching, breathing, praying and preparing for Christmas one Advent practice I have is to chose “a word to walk with me”. If you want to read about how you might choose a word follow this link. This has also allowed Advent to be a time for me to pause and reflect on previous words I have chosen and what I have learned.

In January it will be three full years that I have served as pastor at Lord of the Hills Lutheran Church and Preschool. In the Advent prior to taking this call I chose the word REJOICE to walk with me for 2016. I have been giving God thanks for how that word in Scripture and in prayer, in music and in conversation guided and directed me. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Philippians 4:4.

We will hear this read in worship this weekend as we light the Joy candle on our Advent wreath.

As we approached Advent this year I reflected on laying to rest the word for 2018 “enough”. Trusting God’s grace is enough has calmed my heart and eased my mind many times this past year. In 2017 the word “good” reminded me and rooted me in the goodness of God. Reflecting on how “life is good” I listened for the ways that the goodness of the Lord surrounded and sustained me. The word good served as a cornerstone when I was stuck, afraid, concerned that I wasn’t “good enough”.

The video above I discovered while watching the “golden buzzer” moments on America’s Got Talent. To see the courage, passion, joy, intention, and vulnerability of those who share their gifts and talents inspires me. Recently I have also been watch The Voice enjoying the opportunity to listen to music unfamiliar to me from a variety genres. The stories of the contestants is a big part of the appeal. We all have stories to share, words that walk with us, songs to sing. I have wondered what words walk with the folks who are on these shows.

As I wrote in my journal the three words that have walked with me in my time at Lord of the Hills: rejoice, good, and enough, I considered how they will be fortified by my word for 2019- faith. “Mustard seed” will be one mantra I use this year. Remembering Jesus’ words to his followers in their frustration when they couldn’t cast out a demon.

He (Jesus) said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Slow and steady. One day and one breath at a time. To be reminded that this faith of ours is a gift. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8

When the folks who try out for these shows practice, prepare, wait and watch I often wonder if they are aware that the gifts they have been given come from the God who created them in God’s own image? They have been given a light to let shine and it takes work. It is one of those both/ands. They have a gift and they practice, they prepare, they sow the seeds of their talent. They have faith and they use it.

When we share our gifts we practice mustard seed faith one moment, one breath, one day at a time. Over these almost three years I have gotten a front seat to the amazing gifts of folks at Lord of the Hills. I have seen lights shine, talents shared, courage, vulnerability and generosity that has inspired me greatly.

When we share our gifts those mustard seeds are sown. What is planted is then something in which others can join in rejoicing. It is good. It is enough. Faith it is the mustard seed that is so small that when planted grows into a shrub large enough for the birds of the air to make their nests. Filled with gratitude for all who share their faith and share their talent there is a song of joy in my heart this morning. Blessings on your Advent waiting, watching, hoping, praying and rejoicing.

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