The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
~John 1:14 from Eugene Peterson's translation, The Message

At a retreat in early September, members of session (the church's governing body) developed five principles to serve as guides in session's work to make decisions and live out the vision of the church. One of these principle is "play more away games." What session means by this is to continually find ways to move our ministry and live our gospel values beyond our building, in our neighborhood, our city, and the world. 

As we move into the season of Advent and prepare to celebrate again the wonder and mystery of the Incarnation, it occurs to me that one way to understand the birth of Jesus Christ is as God's ultimate "away game." In Jesus, God chose to be with us and to show God's love for us in an entirely new way -- by being with us as one of us. John 1:14 can be literally translated, "The Word became flesh and pitched a tent among us." The extraordinary nature of God's enfleshed presence wasn't always understood or appreciated by those who interacted with Jesus (for that matter, it still isn't by many of us today!), but it represented a remarkable shift from God who was wholly  other to God who risked becoming  one with God's people.

As we move through Advent this year, may we follow in the path of our incarnate God, seeking to move beyond our familiar patterns to share and show love, even when it requires risk and creates discomfort, knowing that God's mercy and compassion surround and guide us, always.

~ Amy Starr Redwine

By the tender mercy of our God,
   the dawn from on high will break upon us, 
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
   to guide our feet into the way of peace.
~Luke 1:78-79

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Centered in the Circle 
Open to the World
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