Holy Disturbance: Faith

Advent week two: Reaching Out
watercolour: Madeleine Boisclair-Joly
design: Angela Neufeld

Mark 5:21-43 

I stopped by a friend’s house last night. Her tree was sparkling in the corner, hot tea waited in a pot on the stove, beautiful music played in the background, and a diffuser filled the room with the scent of pine and sugar plum fairies. I have not yet begun decorating for Christmas. I’m still steeped in the dark of Advent, waiting for Craig and Adam to return home to do our annual Christmas tree hunt. Stepping into her living room, I clasped my hands together and gave a little gasp—so sudden and unexpected was my delight 🙂 .

This Christmas, we are making room for delight. But we are doing it in a backwards kind of way, first by making room for the disturbance of what hurts.

In  the story of Hannah in the first week of Advent, she broke the silence and spoke out her pain in the temple, refusing to be quiet about her pain of childlessness. Her loud cries caused a disturbance. In her hope that God would hear her, she refused to stay silent.

In the stories of the second week of Advent, Jairus, a synagogue leader, reached out to Jesus for help when his daughter died, which I’m sure broke some strong unspoken loyalty rules among the Pharisees, since they weren’t too happy with Jesus, the rule-breaking itinerant preacher.

And the woman with the issue of blood broke the cleanliness rules by going into a crowded public place to reach out to Jesus. Both Jairus and the woman’s actions caused a disturbance. In faith that Jesus would heal, they refused to keep their distance, refused to stay in their proper place. 

Hannah’s deep desire for a baby was fulfilled. She gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, which means “heard by God”. Jairus’ daughter was healed, raised up and restored to her family. And, the woman—whom Jesus called daughter—was healed, raised up, and restored to her community.

In these passages, hope and faith gave way to joy after hurt was named and a longing for change altered the direction of their feet. There is a sense of motion and momentum in these stories as hard realities are faced head on, yet with hope and faith.

This Advent, this is my prayer for our community. May we have the courage to face head on, squarely and directly, those places where it hurts, and yet, as we do so, may we soften our hearts with hope and faith in Jesus, and be ready for new possibilities we cannot see. Or, to borrow a phrase from BrenĂ© Brown, may we have “strong backs, soft fronts, wild hearts”.

Deep peace and blessings.

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint

Worship Calendar

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ADVENT
Holy Disturbance: Where Does It Hurt?

Sun. Dec 12, 10:00 am Joy
Pulling Apart       
Speaker: Anne Smith Luke 5: 17-26

Sun. Dec 19, 10:00 am Peace
Breaking Through   
Speaker: Anne Smith Luke 2: 1-7
Screening of kids’ Nativity performance (with thanks to Lily and Lynne Oger!)
Fri. Dec 24 
Christmas Eve service
Kingfisher Farm, from 4:00-5:00 pm

Wear a toque, bring a blanket (and a mask), we’re in the barn at 512 172 Street, Surrey. Service starts and ends promptly.
Come a few minutes early to keep our parking lot safe.
Car-pooling to limit cars would really help with parking!

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