Faith brings hope that no pandemic can quench
In his 2021 Advent letter to the church, United Church of Christ General Minister and President John C. Dorhauer acknowledges the world’s second COVID Christmas.
Dear Friends in Christ,
The world has changed.
Familiar patterns in life, in worship and in work have been closeted in order to secure the safety and health of ourselves, our loved ones, our classmates and colleagues.
New patterns will arrive, some of which we will welcome, some of which we will not.
Grief upon grief has been visited upon us all. Hope and joy are harder to locate these days; while virulence and distrust, anger and vitriol appear around every corner.
In his Advent hymn “Night of Silence”, Marty Haugen has composed these lyrics:
His poetic lyrics capture our collective ennui. He names it: cold are the people. Frozen in the snow lie roses sleeping, flowers that will echo the sunrise. With every aching bone in our body we want this winter to come to an end and for the shadows of this cold, endless night we have been living through to accede to the light of a new sun.
The final verse of this beautiful hymn of Marty’s speaks again of the hope faith engenders from the shadowed valleys we have been navigating with deepening depths of despair. He gives voice to our longing for new light – a light we once knew when love was incarnated in Jesus:
Spirit, we wait.
We have waited long.
Month after long, lonely month.
We wait for your Loving Son.
“Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” we sing.
O come, thou Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
We need Thee, O we need Thee. Every hour we need Thee.
From the shadowed valleys we cry our “Emmanuel, come!” — waiting for the dayspring to cheer us, knowing that frozen in the snow lies roses sleeping.
This is our hope. No pandemic can quench the flickering flames of faith deep within us.
We await again the dawning of another rising son.
Come, o come – our Emmanuel.
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer General Minister and President United Church of Christ
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