Dear friends in Christ,
Today the church commemorates the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. We always enjoy a couple of weeks with this singular figure each Advent when the appointed Gospel invites us to remember his work as a prophet. But today we recall his birth.
At John’s birth, his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaimed the words we now sing in the canticle Benedictus Dominus Deus (Canticle 16). Zechariah foretells the important work his son will do, “You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, * for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, To give his people knowledge of salvation * by the forgiveness of their sins.”
I wish we remembered this more often. We gain the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of our sins. In other words, we can understand that we need a redeemer when we learn that we can’t fix our broken selves. By God’s gracious gift in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven, we are made new, and we can be saved. It’s very good news, the Gospel itself.
Knowing that God loves me, a sinner, helps me love other people too. There is always more than enough grace.
The news these days doesn’t seem to have much good news, let alone Gospel. But Zechariah has made another promise: “In the tender compassion of our God * the dawn from on high shall break upon us, To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, * and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
God has great compassion for us, meaning that God knows our suffering, our pain, and our deepest needs. And God loves us through all our sins, all our failings, and all our struggles.
If we who follow Jesus want to know the peace that passes all understanding in our own lives, we can find it in Jesus Christ. And if we can find the peace of Christ in our own hearts, we might have the clarity, the grace, the mercy, and the courage to proclaim peace and Good News in this world.
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This series was made in partnership with Trinity Institute in 2016 based on their 2016 conference, Listen for a Change: Sacred Conversations for Racial Justice. Courses are built on lectures by some of our leading teachers on the subject of race in America.
- Spirituality and Racial Justice with Michael Curry
- Whiteness and Racial Justice with Kelly Brown Douglas
- Theology and Racial Justice with J. Kameron Carter
- Racism and Racial Justice with Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
- Reparations and Racial Justice with Jennifer Harvey
This series is for those looking to deepen their understanding and conversations on racial injustice.
Listen to today’s Forward Day by Day reflection on the Forward Day by Day podcast. Find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast and end your day with the Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen!
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