We live in a world of labels; designations that signal to others who we are or to whom we belong. Liberal. Conservative. Black. White. Gay. Straight. Vikings. Packers. Male. Female. Contemporary Service. Classic Service. Immigrant. Citizen. Labels can help identify or create good-natured rivalry; they may help us to find camaraderie. But these labels can also create chasms that can feel too deep to cross. This political season has done an unfortunate, but masterful job of drawing deep dividing lines in the sands of relationships.
What we continue to forget is that as children of God through faith, we belong solely in Christ. Our defining identity is not based on gender, or sexuality, or race, or ideology or theology. It is instead Christ that draws us together as a people of faith. All other designations that threaten to keep us separate or even simply unique, pale in comparison to the one that unites – as children of the King. We are heirs of the promise God made to Abraham.
We wait anew this Advent season for the God of Hope who came to dwell among us. Waiting for the One who draws us to Himself as God fulfills the covenant He made with our ancestors. God brings us out of our earthly identities into a life of unity in Christ.
O God, we confess that we forget who we are
We don’t listen for a still small voice.
We walk with our heads down
And miss all the stars that could be ours,
But we know, O God, that you are a God of Hope
Who does not forget your covenant with us,
A Shepherd-God who looks for lost sheep,
A faithful God who keeps calling us in spite of our deafness,
A God who enters our history and
Opens our eyes
And heals our blindness.
O God, accept us as your stewards
And send us out in the hope
Of your love.
Prayer By Ann Weems