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DYK: Different

Posted: December 7 2020 at 02:19 PM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson

Searching for some information on our conference website recently, I was struck by how many times the word “different” popped up on the screen. It made me laugh out loud. We are in a season defined by the “different”. In the spring, we applauded the adaptive actions of our churches. In the summer, we talked about pivoting. Now it comes down to referencing our lives, church, and world as being just plain “different”.

We’ve run out of other adjectives to describe this long road we are on as we watch, wait and do our part to save lives through our actions. This is a very “different” Advent/Christmas season. Drive-in worship, Zoom Advent studies, glow stick Christmas Eve services. Celebrations with families are different. Gift giving is different.We grieve the loss of our traditions that wrap us in comfort and spiritual renewal as we navigate the “different”.

As The United Methodist Church is deeply rooted in mission, witness and social concerns, our global agencies, boards and ministries have worked on innovation, relevance and continued ways of nurturing our world under dire circumstances. As I think about the reach of The United Methodist Church – into poor communities, through immigrant advocacy, extending emergency relief, offering education, providing shelter for abused families, feeding the homeless, bringing medical aid to the underserved, shoring up food deserts – our call is anything but different. It is the same as it was pre-pandemic and the same as it will be post-pandemic.

We are called to be God’s presence in the world. As we all strive for some peace and joy in the absence of our familiar, comforting routines this season, I hope we will remember that the church is actively bringing God’s love and light to the world. The Northern Illinois Conference has a deep and strong history of mission support. Our Rainbow Covenant giving, Bishop’s Appeal and mission collection have not faltered through these pandemic months.

We have continued to care and share, even as our resources have been threatened at home. You have made a difference through your support for missions beyond your church. I pray that the Christmas ritual of sharing with others, of giving out of your abundance, will not diminish this season. Even as we feel the loss of so much in our lives, we can be the warmth of God’s reach in the lives of others.

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