Advent Love

4th Sunday of Advent  

The season of Advent is just about over. On this Sunday, the 4th and final Sunday of Advent, we will re-light the first candle of hope, the second candle of love, and a third candle of Joy. And because Advent encompasses the four Sundays before Christmas Day will light our 4th candle briefly Sunday morning, the candle representing Love. Sunday evening it Christmas Eve and our eyes become focused on the Light of Christ. 

When I was in high school, I led music at my church’s Vacation Bible School one year. . Each morning for 2 weeks, I hopped on my bike and rode the 4 miles to the church mostly on gravel… uphill both ways…

The kids learned this song (below) and loved it.  As I got older and started working in churches elsewhere, I found that kids still knew it and still loved it – I think it’s because they love to shout the word shout. But theologically it still delivers.
Love, love, love, that’s what it’s all about
‘Cause God loves us, we love each other,
mother, father, sister, brother.
Everybody sing and SHOUT,
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about…
It’s about love, love, love.

“It” is as simple and as complex as love. 

Simple: God loves us; we love others. 

Complex: God loves us so much that Jesus, 
...though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
 but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.    Philippians 2:6-8

What wondrous love is this? Jesus puts on our skin.The Divine becomes Incarnate. God’s home is among us.  And, not only was God born in human likeness and lived among us, God was glad to do so. 

In Christ, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. 
 -Colossians 1:19  
The whole idea of incarnation, of the word becoming flesh, affirms the physical and fleshly by declaring that it was a uniform God wasn’t ashamed to wear. 
  -Fredrick Buechner in Wishful Thinking

What are human beings that you are mindful of them? Taking on flesh, God showed how deeply we were loved.

Oh, love, how deep, how broad, how high,
beyond all thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!
- Thomas a Kempis

And, most mysteriously of all, Jesus continues to be in flesh... In the flesh of "the other" that we encounter each day.  Mother Teresa met and loved the most desolate of humans in Calcutta.. she often explained her work by saying: Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

We are back to the simple: God loves us; we love others; we love God as other.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245