The Threshold of a New Beginning, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Matthew 2: 13-23
May God bless and enable you to celebrate a beautiful life in Christ Jesus! It has been marvelous Advent and Christmastide. Our savior was born to us with great peace and unlimited joy.
I would like to use this opportunity to say thanks for our beloved clergy and all United Methodist siblings in Wisconsin for your faithful and loving works and dedications.
Our gospel reading today may have much to say to us at the end of this difficult and challenging year.
I draw three parallels with our current situation, with three messages of hope and grace in response.
The first parallel between the plight of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus is that of living in fear under a threat.
For most of us, 2020 has been such a time – living with the anxiety, fear, and sense of helplessness in the face of the coronavirus. Few people operate well under high levels of uninterrupted stress. Fear changes our priorities and our focus. Many people find it disrupts their sleep. Others are distracted and struggle to concentrate. Some become irritable and impatient.
Over time, stress and anxiety can build up like steam in a pressure cooker, looking for release. Rarely does that release come out in positive and productive ways – though I must say I am deeply impressed by many of the stories I have heard and videos I have seen where people have been very creative and inspiring in the ways they are coping with the pandemic. Sometimes people talk about doubt being the opposite of faith, but I believe fear is the opposite of faith.
Our faith is a rock, a foundation, a source of strength and courage and hope.