Grace to you, the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, and peace from God our creator and our savior Jesus Christ! I am fully aware that we stand in the midst of the holy season of Advent, yet after the huge celebration we shared this past weekend at Delaware State University, you’ll forgive me if I feel like a good bit of Christmas cheer has already arrived for me. This year, I have received a gift of immeasurable worth from you: your trust, joy, and goodwill. I have received from God the great charge and great blessing of serving Christ as bishop in God’s church. And I have received from
my family, yet again, the love, energy, and encouragement to step into new ministry with purpose and joy.
It is good and right, as I am surrounded in this abundance of gifts, that the church calendar resolutely reads Advent. Among life’s happiest celebrations, even those long anticipated and joyfully received, we know (and Advent insists) that there is much, much more: there is hope. The greatest of all blessings — the unrelenting love of God — is coming. More precisely, this divine and living Love has already come, is coming even now, and will come again. Everything we know, every blessing and every grace, every hurt and every pain stands exposed in the bright light of this Advent hope. Keep watch; Love is coming. Fear not; Love is coming. Stay awake, lest you miss the very thing you need most. Love is coming.
I feel we are lucky to begin our shared ministry in this season. Anniversaries are natural times to reflect and remember, and our anniversary of ife together will always fall in the light of Advent hope. I ask you, each year, help me and help our church to keep watch for God’s guidance; to never fear the challenges and obstacles in our way; and to stay awake for sparks of new life at work in unexpected places. Remind us to speak truth like the prophets. Remind us to trust God like Mary, to risk saying yes to God and to God’s boundless potential within us.
I pray God’s blessings upon you all this Advent, and on our church in the seasons to come. Keep watch: Love is coming, has already come, and will come again.