“Third Sunday of Advent: Joy” by The Rev. Kaji Douša

December 8th,2022 Categories: Weekly Letter
Dear Church,

As someone wisely sang: it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Many thanks to Stephanie Wilson and David Sookai for bringing our sanctuary into Advent joy and Christmasy delight – it’s gorgeous!

Coming up, we have beautiful worship experiences planned. With Advent Joy and Love Sundays ahead, and the amazing encounter our music leader, C. Anthony Bryant, has planned for December 14, our church has much uplift in store!

Be sure to note our Christmas worship schedule. We will hold our Christmas celebration on Sunday, December 25 at our regular worship time of 11 am. Because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, we have the rare opportunity to worship on Christmas Day instead of our usual Christmas Eve service, so please do plan accordingly.

For this Sunday, our text comes from Galatians 4, where Paul explores what it means to be a child of God. It’s a beautiful, challenging text I can’t wait to explore with you in worship. My working title is: “When they try to tell you you aren’t free”. Join us in person or online – we can’t wait to see you.

In preparation for your reflections on this week’s scripture, I share Dr. Wil Gafney’s important reflection on this text:

“Slave language in the Gospels and Epistles is ugly. It is tempting to soften it to servant, woman servant, maidservant, etc. The blood more than six million Africans spilled in the Middle Passage cries out with the blood of every other enslaved person across time and space. We must confront slavery in the text and in the churches and institutions built on it and its rhetoric. We can retain the image of being adopted by God without a straw comparison to an enslaved person—who cannot even be considered a child according to Paul’s rhetoric—to establish our relative worth.” *

How do we read this text and understand our belovedness? We will reflect on this, together.

Pastor Kaji

* Gafney, Wilda C.. A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church (p. 56). Church Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.

 Scripture: Galatians 4:1-7 (Year A, page 52):

1 I say that as long as heirs are minors, they are no better than slaves, though they are the masters of all; 2 but they remain under guardians and trustees until the time set by the father. 3 So also for us; while we were minors, we were enslaved by the constitutive elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent God’s own Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption like children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of God’s own Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.