Our Advent theme this year, Home by Another Way, invites us to approach the season as one phase of our life-long spiritual journey. I wonder, who are your traveling companions? What wise sages might you encounter during this season and how may they encourage or re-direct your steps?

I am eternally grateful for all of the people I have met on my life journey. Their experiences and stories have enriched my life and, oftentimes, called me to choose a more faithful – if challenging – path in my own life. It is not always possible, but sometimes I can circle back and check out their perspective as new events and issues arise in our shared world experiences. Sometimes I can be helpful to them, or they to me.

In April, at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was humbled to lead prayer during the international on-line memorial service for Celia Yap Banago, RN. Celia, right here in Kansas City, was one of the first medical professionals to succumb to the coronavirus because she was not provided with adequate personal protective equipment and protocols.

As our nation mourned the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I called some of my Black friends here in the city. We talked – again – about the relentless scourge of racism.

During the late summer as hurricanes ravaged Nicaragua, I stayed in touch with David Sanchez of our mission partner CEPAD. David reiterated that people directly suffering from the effects of climate change are not at all confused about it as a priority to be addressed.

Advent, as distinct from Lent, emphasizes the social and communal dimension of our faith journey whereas the later season tends to focus on individual responsibility and metanoia. As we continue our preparation to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace and Justice, I invite you to think about who you might invite to walk with you.

“Lord, bless us with companions to come alongside us on this Advent journey, to quicken our step and light our path. Amen.”