Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church.
On this day of national mourning for President George H.W. Bush, we at Faith also grieve with the rest of America and remember his dedication of service that marked his life.
President Bush professed the Christian faith and we trust that because of Christ's death and resurrection he is with his Lord waiting for the resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day. We keep in prayer both his loved ones and our nation.
The season of Advent is upon us. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Dec. 25, or the Sunday closest to St. Andrew Day, (Nov. 30) and ends with midday prayer on Dec. 24. Advent (from Latin "adventus" which means "coming into") is a season of hope. It expresses the hope we have as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth on Dec. 25 and the hope we have as we wait for Christ's second return. This is a season of hope and repentance.
On this national day of mourning these Advent themes are quite fitting. Is there hope? Yes! We have hope knowing that God has all things in hand, despite the President's death. God has President Bush in his hands, as well as our future.
Yet repentance must play a part in seeing this hope. As we prepare to meet our Savior, whether in the celebration of Christmas or in His second coming, we repent of our lack of love and our selfishness. We don't deserve a Savior, but He still comes into this world for us. He reclaims mankind from Satan, sin, death, and hate. As we see our sin we repent and fall into the hands of a loving God.
As a nation we need to do some soul searching, starting with each of us individually. How do we in our home, our job, our neighborhood and town share God's love. A love that is sacrificial and steadfast. This means we sacrifice our arrogance of individuality and take up the form that Christ entered humanity, a form of a servant.
Men and women who are truly great are those who sacrifice, through blood, sweat and tears, striving to see their neighbors having a real hope. They know there is something greater than themselves and refuse glory, pointing always to one who is greater, Paul writes.
Philippians 2:4-8 4. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6. who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7. but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men; 8. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
On this day of national mourning, in the season of Advent, may repentance and hope prevail.
• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.