“Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain” (Isaiah 40:4).
Eighty years ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was tragically transformed from an island paradise into a bloody battlefield. After the Japanese bombed the U.S. Navy, war was declared and tragedy ensued. During times like these, the Lutheran church has always trusted our chaplains to bring a ministry of Word and Sacrament — to remind people that, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there is always a way toward peace. Amid tragedy, destruction and death, those who follow Jesus are still called to hope.
As we continue to live with the impact of COVID-19, did any of us think that this pandemic would be so protracted? We had no way to know about Delta or Omicron variants. We have seen rises in anxiety, incivility, anti-Asian violence and the harmful theology of Christian nationalists and other extremist groups, the same kind of sentiment that led us to intern Asian Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. We must do better than that. As we are reminded by the light from our Advent wreathes, we are called to illuminate and enlighten.
The advent of our Lord Jesus is the event that turns all human history on its head. We follow Jesus rather than the warmongering, death-dealing principalities and powers of this world. Like our ELCA federal chaplains, like the prophet Isaiah, we are called to promote a different way – a way of justice, of equity, of healing and recovery. We are ambassadors of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who enters our world to bring peace, healing and hope.
A blessed Advent to you, dear church.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder