Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Message from Integrity

The Advent days of preparation dwindle down to a precious few and soon our attention will turn from the voice in the wilderness to the baby in the manger, as we celebrate again the coming of the Prince of Peace into a war torn world. It is the Christmas gift beyond measure: the God who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to walk in love with God -- and with each other.

In this Christmas truth is the core message of the Christian Gospel – the Good News of God become incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ. It is the message we have been entrusted with as members of the Body of Christ to proclaim. And it is the “Gospel Agenda” Integrity is committed to, as we continue to call the Episcopal Church to live up to its commitment to fully include all of the baptized into the Body of Christ.

It is what Howard Thurman calls, “The Work of Christmas.”

The Work of Christmas

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds
are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins -
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To release the prisoner
To teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.

(Howard Thurman, “The Work of Christmas”)

The work of Christmas does not end when the presents are opened or the eggnog is gone or the liturgical season moves on to Epiphany. Finding the lost, healing the broken, feeding the hungry and releasing the prisoners is the 24/7 job description of the church in the world. It is the work Integrity has had the privilege to do -- on behalf of the LGBT faithful and in partnership with our justice allies -- for over thirty years. And it is the work we will continue to do as we move forward in faith together into God’s future.

Merry Christmas from Integrity USA! And may the God of hope fill you -- those you love, serve and challenge -- with all joy and peace in believing, this Christmas and always.

(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
Integrity USA

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