The Pastor’s Pen                                                 December 13, 2018

”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

                                             Romans 15:13 NRSV

There’s a place at the mall that sells Christmas stuff. Needing some supplies for an upcoming event, I went there, expectant. The weary clerk at the first store just shook her head. “We used to sell angels but we don’t have anything like that anymore,” she said. While I’m not naïve enough to have thought that I would find anything like a religious section in the 10,000 square foot holiday aisles, I admit that I was surprised that angels had dropped out of favor, even among secular lawn décor.

The second store seemed more promising, according to their website they were “dashing all the way”. I found penguins and Santa and football decorations and cardboard cut out Christmas trees and inflatable lawn reindeer, but not a single representation of angels. They did carry beautiful Renaissance dolls that look mostly like the models on slick magazine covers but with wings. However, I couldn’t quite picture any of them showing up to give Mary the good news that she would bear a child, or that even for a second Mary would be “sore afraid.”

Nevertheless, I did find what I was looking for, or to be more precise, an angel found me. The angel didn’t have wings or glow in the sky. The angel came to a vulnerable single mother in our wider community who in the aftermath of serious surgery was unable to work for several weeks. At risk of losing her apartment, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “Do not be afraid,” and a community overheard the angel and the angel overshadowed us to respond.

In a swift, collaborative effort, four local churches and three community agencies made a covenant together to pay her rent until she can return to the job that is waiting for her when she is back on her feet. In a season when we’re all so busy we may not pause to look up and therefore miss the silent brush of angel wings, make no mistake. God’s messengers of hope come bearing good news of great joy for all people, even you and me.

Prayer: God of all hope, keep our eyes fixed upon you, that we receive your good news and willingly respond, “Here am I Lord. Let your Word be made know through me.” Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland

First Parish Church, York, Maine