Advent – Sunday, December 19, 2021

Author: Chad Hyatt

Micah 5:2-5a

Reflection: v. 4, ‘And he shall stand and feed his flock’

Five days a week in the wee hours of the morning, we pull up to the grand old church with its steeple kissing the sky, our trailer hitched to my pickup and packed wall-to-wall with the holy tools of our ministry: tents and tables, generators and a grill, a faithful old coffee urn and dozens of farm-raised eggs. Brittany calls it ‘church in a box.’ And it kind of is. We set up in the parking lot and the meadowy-green grass beneath the trestled trees, tents and chairs arranged and people slowly gathering. It seems a little like an everyday festival. Passers-by on Ponce must think to themselves, ‘That church sure parties a lot!’ The scene looks pastoral—and it is in the truest sense. But it is far from bucolic. We’re there when it’s sunny and bright and temperate, but also when it’s scorching and sweaty. We’re there when it’s stormy, windy, rainy, and freezing. We’re there cooking and cleaning, singing and praying, preaching and theologizing. We’re there caring and calling, loving and challenging, making art and making a mess—and generally just holding one another together. Some time ago, I heard an Episcopal priest respond to a reporter’s curious question,’Why are you working behind the counter in a soup kitchen?’ ‘Because it’s my job,’ he said, ‘lt’s the vocation of every priest to break bread.’ And it is the work of every church to share food. We get angry emails and threats of legal action, but also support and encouragement. Yet it’s still hard—sometimes harder than it seems like it ought to be. We find ourselves wanting no more than to be good pastors, caring for our beloved and broken community. Advent is promise, but it’s also a command. Let us do the same work Jesus did and find the same messianic hope: ‘And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD… and they shall live secure.’

Prayer You who feed your flock, teach us to share our food with one another so that every one of us may live safe and secure.

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