A Word From Our Bishop

On the Thanksgiving weekend, a group of youth gathered at the camp to spend time with one another and to learn about Jesus. They spent time with our Bishop, as well as with Su McLeod, Youth Engagement Coordinator for the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund. They also shared in a huge thanksgiving feast together on the Sunday evening. This is a picture of all the youth (and the leaders) that gathered that weekend.

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 

– Romans 8:24-25

I have made it no secret through the years that I love the season of Advent. The music of this season, the darkening days, the scripture we read which tells us of the expectation of God’s might final acts in this world, they all add up to a season of hope for me. This hope is different than the garden variety hope which we all learn as children. This is not the expectation of a coming party on a birthday, or the countdown to the end of school and beginning of summer holidays. Those are all instances of expectation – but the expectation is for something we know, or have experienced before. In Advent, we are expecting a might act of God, which we cannot know, for it is the stuff of faith.

Expectation can be a powerful force in our lives. Anyone who has tried to get a child to sleep on Christmas Eve when the expectation of the next morning is so real will know whereof I speak. Expectation is a state where we allow our minds to wander into the particular delight, the single pleasure for which we have been made to wait. Fantasies of the Christmas Tree piled high with presents, or day dreaming about the long lazy days of summer while sitting in a classroom in the middle of June are good examples of the power of expectation.

But hope, especially in the kingdom of God is not like that expectation. There is expectation to be sure: we expect God to arrive and with a mighty arm set up his kingdom, return to the temple and begin the reign of justice and joy which had been foretold. But we can’t exactly daydream about what that will look like because we have never seen it or experienced it fully before. We have definitely had flashes of it. We have experienced moments in our lives where God may have swept us off our feet with the power of his love and the transforming power of grace. These are flashes…inklings of what is to come. They are not the whole kingdom, rather they are a flash of the sun off of a lake: blinding and beautiful, but a reflected glory.

Advent is about what we cannot see, cannot know and yet believe will change everything. Advent is about hope in the coming Kingdom and in the One who will bring this kingdom into being. Hope is the most powerful emotion because it can make suffering bearable. Hope can make expectation and its power fade, for when hope is present, trust in the outcome becomes a matter of faith, and not a matter of knowledge.

We are now entering Advent, and my prayer for you and the Diocese of Brandon is that you will feel the power of hope which the Christ brings to those who put their trust in him. That there is something, someone, coming that will change everything for you. It was to the forgotten, the hungry and the broken that he came. The rich and the powerful did not need the hope which he came to bring. They weren’t even interested in the message which Jesus proclaimed until they began to understand that his preaching might upset their comfortable lives. Jesus is still here, calling us into the deeper hope of the kingdom, still preaching the end of the powers who have oppressed and broken the people of God. Advent is about that hope: the topsy-turvy kingdom of God where the meek inherit the earth and where those who mourn are comforted.

May that hope grow in you each and every day as we approach the birth in time of the timeless Son of God.


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