Read Jude 1:17-25.
Today’s reading makes me a little uncomfortable. I shrink from Jude’s us-versus-them language and feel much more eager to identify with the “scoffers indulging ungodly lusts” than with anyone who might claim to “stand without blemish in the presence of God’s glory.” I want to confront the author about blaming others for divisiveness. Couldn’t they consider a different approach that wouldn’t cast aside any beloved children of God in the process?
And yet, I remember how often I, too, distance myself from those I disagree with, thinking, “they just don’t really get it, do they?” Very often, those thoughts are about communities and traditions that formed me, the very places where I’m from.
In the presence of the great mystery of God, it is so very enticing to convince ourselves that we have it all figured out. It’s easy to tell ourselves that others are to blame and that we’ve somehow found a way to slip right through to truth, goodness, and spiritual enlightenment. In the season of Advent, God shows up right in the midst of our messy world, calling us to the grace, hope, and love that cuts across all borders. We’re called to stay grounded in God, the one who calls us out beyond our divisions and builds a wider table of reconciliation and understanding. There, the hope of God rings clear.
God of deep understanding, meet us in our messiness and help us witness one another with the perspective of your abundant love. You call us to share goodness and grace even when we fundamentally disagree. Guide us when bitterness is easier than mercy. Call us back to your love. Amen.
Rev. Hannah Lundberg
Resident Minister & Campus Ministry Pastor
First Presbyterian Church (Ann Arbor, MI) & UKirk@UMich