A Word from the Pastor:
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest……
Here it is, the ideal family gathered around an ideal holiday table. Norman Rockwell has captured the sentiment of a bygone era. It is an endear-ing picture: all smiles and family bliss with everyone sitting down for a turkey dinner. Even the table setting is perfect.
My experiences certainly do not measure up to this picture. Even before the turkey is served there’s already been some hard feelings. Sulking replaces smiles for those told to put their phones away. Where’s the uncle who shows up with a ring of salami under his arm, smelling like a brewery? One is tight lipped, doing his best to remain silent when the conversation turns political. And, there is that heavy cloud, which hovers over the table because of the empty chair.
Like the picture, sometimes we get caught up in ideals. The ideal job. The ideal vacation. The ideal relationship. Ideal children and ideal homes and ideal holidays. Whether the picture is painted by Rockwell, created by advertisements, or sketched into our imaginations --- they are all unhealthy. They lead us to see what we have --- and who we are – as unworthy or not good enough.
In Advent we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” This is the message of Advent: Jesus comes. But he does not come into an ideal picture of ourselves or our world. Jesus comes to us just as we are. He comes into our fear of losing and dying; he comes into our troubled families and lives; he comes into our preoccupation with status and image. He comes into our differences, be they political, or racial or theological. Jesus comes into our addictions --- to substances, to work, to food; to affirmation, to control.
Somehow there is peace in all of this, to be loved and accepted and counted worthy because of God’s love and acceptance for us.
Come, Lord Jesus, indeed.
Pastor Steve Klemz
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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1070 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108