A month ago, I was asked to create an online Advent photo calendar for The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. The UMC has been all over the news this year as we struggle with doctrine relating to the inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the church. During one of our sessions we broke into groups (1,200 of us) to discuss and not debate our feelings, beliefs, frustrations, and whatever else we were experiencing in regard to where we are and where we are going. I believe all people are loved by God and should be fully welcomed into the church exactly as they are.
Each of these groups was asked at the conclusion to pick one word that described the process. From these words, 26 were chosen. I was asked to pick a scripture lesson that addressed each word, write a devotional piece and prayer, and attach a photo to each. The devotions and prayers were to address our ongoing struggles in the context of the coming of Christ, born in Bethlehem, and coming again to bring justice and shalom.
So, for those of you who are Christian (or do the Santa thing), "Merry Christmas." For those who are Jewish, "Happy Chanukah." For those who celebrate it, "Happy Kwanzaa." And if you don't celebrate these--well enjoy the lights and the pie! To all of you I wish "Shalom:" peace, wholeness, contentment, prosperity, justice, and joy!
Click on the photo to access the daily devotion and prayer.