Would you like to hear some good news? Then hear the incredibly life-changing good news St. Paul delivers to the Ephesians in Chapter 1: 7 – 10:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
I invite you to savor the words of this declaration by Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit. We are redeemed by Christ’s very blood, forgiven, rich in his grace as lavished upon us. Wisdom and insight are given to us that we might know the mystery of God’s will. We are a part of his purpose. We are in God’s plan for the fullness of time. We will be completely united with him, and with all things in heaven, and all things on earth.
The magnitude of these assurances is more than I can absorb. I have a hard time accepting a compliment, much less receive such an unmerited and unearned reality that is true for now and forever. The truth of the matter is that I mostly live my days as if these assurances somehow do not include me. I have no problem believing that such glory is intended for other Christians, but surely not me. I am ashamed of how often and how deeply I offend God by not accepting his lavish grace and responding in unrestrained gratitude. I am like the older brother who won’t come inside and enjoy the banquet because I’m still smarting over the lack of a goat.
We have had a mighty rough season here at the Advent. COVID 19 has stolen so much from our last 15 months, including those people whom we love. And we have said good bye to our dean and rector, Andrew, in what feels like a whiplash moment in time. We are suffering in the confusion and darkness Satan absolutely delights in, as he stirs up rumors, innuendos, and down-right lies. Satan would have us to be like lost sheep who have gone astray.
BUT GOD! Read again the bold type of Paul’s words to the Ephesians. We are promised redemption and forgiveness, grace and knowledge, a part in God’s plan, and a complete reunion with him, with each other, and with all things of heaven and of earth. This is why Christian people can rejoice in their suffering. We know how the story is going to end, and its glorious illumination cannot be dimmed by even the darkest of dark.
Speaking of rejoicing, I hope you will attend our Women’s Retreat this August 27–29, 2021, at Children’s Harbor Conference Center. Susan Yates is our speaker. She will be teaching on how we can trust in the Lord in times of transition. God-inspired good timing for us, as I see it!
Registration is up on our much more user-friendly website. Just go to the Women’s Ministry page and it is easy to get signed up. I encourage you to invite an Advent friend who may feel a little intimidated by the thought of a weekend with a lot of other women. Scholarships are available. Please reach out to me if you have any questions.
Heidi Kinner is spending five weeks with us beginning June 10!!! For those of you who don’t know Heidi yet, she was a minister at the Advent some years ago, and served as the Director of our Women’s Ministries. Heidi is a gifted teacher with a lovely spirit, and she loves to open up God’s holy word. She will be preaching from the pulpit and teaching in our Adult Sunday School classes during her residency with us.
She also will be the speaker for two come-as-you-are events open to all Advent women. She will be teaching on Wednesday, June 16, at 7:00 p.m. at Kelly Hargrove’s home (4020 Old Leeds Circle, 35213) on the Book of Ruth, and on Monday, July 12, at 10:00 a.m. at Emily Curran’s home (2 Pine Ridge Lane, 35213) Heidi will teach on Mary of Magdala. Please email me at Carolyn@CathedralAdvent.com to let me know you are coming to one, or both.
Lastly, I invite you to take advantage of one of the summer Bible Studies available to all women in a relaxed, summer schedule format. See the website or the Adventurer for all the options.
I encourage each of us to regularly pray for one another, and to pray for the Advent clergy and staff. Pray specifically that they get some rest in the Lord, and that Jesus Christ will be their shield and defender. I am honored to serve alongside each of you, and I always enjoy hearing from you.