In the winter of 2013, I started an experiment of walking, taking public transit, and bicycling for my job as a pastor. This fall I added a new form of transit, an e-bike. E-bikes are not for everyone, but they can be an alternative to cars for many, especially pastors.
This year, my sun lamp is my Advent wreath. I can’t explain how this works exactly. It only has the one light; there’s no way to turn on more and more of it as the Sundays of Advent pass. But I want to mark this beacon of light with some sort of reverence this December, to bless it in this season of darkness.
Advent reminds us that the best things in life are not the trinkets, toys, thrills, and temptations of this world that come from the outside in an attempt to give us a temporary thrill or some short-term pleasure. Life is about the gifts that God provides that work from the inside out and sustain us even when everything is not going our way. The themes of Advent point us to those gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy.
As we sat in a Shabbat service in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors over the past week, we saw unbelievable pain and grief. We also witnessed the mourning of our Palestinian siblings at a vigil. As Christians, we must bear witness to such grief, but we must not make the mistake of only seeing one side’s pain.
Just as Christ commands us to believe as a child, Fred Rogers, and now Daniel Tiger, keeps reminding us that we won’t always be the best, but we all deserve the chance to try to be the better version of ourselves. The Imago Dei. The one that God sees when God declares us beloved.
Pastoral care is an essential part of ministry. Individuals and families in the congregation are under our care. However, it’s easy for pastors to get sucked in doing more for people than is good for them—or for us.