By Lynn S. Fry, Program Director, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa)
Sometimes it’s difficult to find things to rejoice in. We listen to the news; we see the hungry; we walk alongside those who are oppressed; we sit with the lonely in heart and spirit; we advocate for those whose voices are lost in bureaucratic minutia; and yet we move forward in hope as witnesses to the light of Christ. Though the night often seems interminably long, the promised light comes in the morning. That same light that John the Baptist lifts in the Gospel of John. We, like John, as covenanted in our baptism, testify to the true light, the light of Christ. Even in the darkness, the light of Christ dwells within us.
During this season of preparation, I invite you to reflect on the road of Mary, a young teenager who embraces her prophetic place. Her world was turned upside down with the unexpected visit of Gabriel; yet she accepts her role and “magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… “Luke 1:46-47. In her song of praise, also known as the Magnificat found in the Gospel of Luke, Mary acknowledges God will put down the powerful, feed the hungry and send away the rich empty handed.
Mary’s life is not easy. She travels pregnant, by donkey, 80 miles to Bethlehem with her betrothed to be registered in accordance with the decree sent out from Emperor Augustus. She’s a pregnant teenager in a foreign land ready to give birth, and still she rejoices! Mary was our neighbor. As we continue to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, may we be more mindful of our neighbors locally and globally.
We ask for your guidance, Lord, to be more open-minded with our neighbors. Help us to look inward and identify our passions in serving our neighbors. Stir our hearts, O Lord, to assist one another tangibly throughout the year sharing your light and witness through our lives.
We rejoice in the never-ending love and omniscient presence of God in this broken world as we strive to be Christ’s hands and feet loving our neighbors as ourselves. God for whom we wait, stir up our hearts, to witness to your light and love to all the world.
Help us find our true passion in assisting neighbors locally and globally. Comfort the broken hearted and oppressed. May your Holy Spirit guide us in helping to fix broken systems.
We rejoice in your abiding presence with us and with all the saints. May we continue to prepare the way of the Lord.
I invite you to reflect on an uplifting Youtube video of The Magnificat presented by Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Worcester, MA .
In response to God’s love in Jesus Christ, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) advocate for wise and just public policies in Pennsylvania that promote the common good. Learn more about their work at LutheranAdvocacyPA.org.
Art: “The Canticle of Mary” by Jen Norton
Read more ELCA Advocacy Advent Reflections by visiting blogs.ELCA.org/Advocacy.