Dear People of St. Catherine’s,
Lately I’ve been pulled to and fro by my grandson, Liam. Every time I drive up to his house, he bounds out the front door and hugs me and says: “Grandpa, I missed you.” And when we get ready to leave his house after having been there awhile, he hugs me and says, “Grandpa, are you leaving?”
In his small-boy way, Liam is giving voice to the deepest longings of human hearts and his greeting and farewell capture the hope and anxiety that pull at us and find such rich expression in this season of Advent. When the world is a mess, like it seems now, with a merciless pandemic scouring not just our country, but the whole world, it is tempting to cry out “O God, we have missed you. Where
have you been?” The canticles of hope we sing during this season lift our longing and allow us to stay in beseeching mode for a little while.
We would not be the first people to wonder and worry about why we suffer and God seems to be away. It is hard not to be suspicious of those claims of goodness and mercy that we long to believe are true. There is a reason that “Emmanuel” is the name that carries our hopes in this time of waiting and watching. It is “God present” whom we want to believe in. It is the presence of God that comforts us and carries us on when the way is darkest.
As much as we may miss God and want him present, we also miss each other. Each week, when I greet you at church, I see someone I haven’t seen in several months. I realize how barren my life has been without all of you with me. I missed you. Liam has it right.
And, with each new warning about the ravages of Covid-19 I want to cry out, “are you leaving? Don’t leave. Stay here.
But, take heart, sweet people. It is ok to feel like Liam. It is ok to “miss” God and greet God with a hug when we feel him near. And it is undeniably normal for us to cry out “Are you leaving?” when the din of bad news roars unabated, and we fear being left alone.
The good news of Advent – this Advent and every Advent – is that God is near, God is present, God is steadfast and God is with us. Full stop. Great good news. Tell all the world. Take courage and hope. All shall be well.
During this season of Advent and Christmas, there are services scheduled. I hope you are able to be with us, if you feel safe doing so. I look forward to seeing you, or talking to you. If God is anything like a grandpa – and that might be a stretch! – I’m sure he cherishes hearing that he has been missed and will reassure us that he does not leave us comfortless nor alone.
With great hope,
Allen W. Farabee
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 9:00 AM
HOLY EUCHARIST WITH MUSIC
Sunday 10:00 AM
Sunday 10:00 AM