This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  The theme is LOVE.  In Matthew 1:23, from the assigned gospel text, the angel Gabriel repeats to Joseph in a dream the promise of God found from Isaiah 7:14, “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 

          Why do so many fail to experience “God is With Us?”  Ilia Delio, in “The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love,” seek to reconcile a good and loving God with the ever-present suffering in the world.  She says, There is no doubt that suffering and violence abound in the crevices of life, but suffering is not a punishment of a vengeful God. God does not abandon us; we abandon God by running after little gods. God lives deep within us, as the center of love, but we are often dismissive of this inner center and drawn by the little gods of power, success, status, and wealth, everything we create for ourselves. … The question is not why God allows bad things to happen to good people but why we abandon God in the face of suffering. If God is love, then our only real hope is in God, because hope is the openness of love to infinite possibilities and new life. … This God of love appears in Jesus of Nazareth, (as) a God who gets radically involved in the messiness of the world, to be God for us.  (I would add also to be “Emmanuel: God is with us.)” 

          Delio explains why on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, it’s important we stop “running after little gods;” rather we need to believe and trust in “LOVE:  Emmanuel – God is With Us.”   

          Join us for Worship this “Love Sunday” in-person, by Zoom or Livestream as we remember “LOVE – EMMANUEL; GOD IS WITH US,” my sermon based on Matthew 1:18-25.  

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