Advent. Day 22 of 24.
This week I led a prayer meeting for folks that have a heart for Toronto’s inner city and who believe in the power of communal prayer. (I have these meetings once a month if you’d like to be added to my invite list.) Despite it being just a few days before Christmas, we had pretty decent attendance. These folks actually believe that they are not too busy to pray but rather are too busy not to pray. The world is too messed up to think that we can start anywhere else but with the Source of Peace, the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
This time we heard requests for prayer around increasing violence on our streets as well as around the world. We heard about a significant lack of housing. We were saddened by news of people having drug overdoses. We lamented the passing of our friend Sister Susan Moran who founded the Out of the Cold program, which isn’t ideal but that keeps 100’s of people alive every year at wintertime.
But then we heard about good things that are happening amidst the chaos. Refugee families being sponsored. Hard to house people being surrounded by professionals and helped to find decent housing. Lives being changed.
The dominant theme through all of this news, both good and bad, was love. There was so much love in that room. Everything these folks do is permeated with love. With this being the last week of Advent, and with love being the theme of the week, I couldn’t help but feel the meaning of Christmas right there in that room.
It reminded me of one of the most well known passages in all of scripture, often known as ‘The Love Chapter’.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)
Come Lord Jesus