E-votional - The Gathering
January 4, 2002

"See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here."

Jeremiah 31:8 (NRSV)


    There are certain times of the year when people "come back" to church. Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Baptisms, Confirmation, First Communion. These are special events in their life or another's. And it is during this time, that people definitely come out of the wood work. It is a time when special clothes are found or bought. Meals and accommodations are made. In a matter of months I will be traveling to Virginia to baptize my niece, Madison. There we will find my other aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparent and friends of the family. It will be quite the gathering. In the back of mind we knew it was coming, as it did with my daughter and my nephew before that. There will be a time, we just wait until. . . .

   Hear the Good News, while we, my family await the baptism of my niece, we all, everyone, you, them, friends and strangers, we await anther gathering. This gathering is one led by God. Jeremiah tells of a time when we will all be gathered together, by God. This is a God of restoration, a God of love and a God of closeness. The ears hearing this for the first time were scattered and exiled. They were hungry, they were uncertain and even scared about the life before then. Friends, Christmas offers us much the same promise. With the birth of Christ and the promise of being gathered together, it is time to free ourselves from the fears of the past and focus on the present and future. It is with this promise, that we should, that we need to return to church, gather with others in prayer and worship because it is time. Discover the unity offered with your brothers and sisters, your aunt and uncle in the faith, as you celebrate God and His closeness, His restoration and Love together. Gather.


   Gracious Father, You gather the scattered, the lost and the frightened. Gather me close to You, call my brothers and sisters, your flock, by your side and let us celebrate You. In the midst of my concern from the past, help me to embrace the promise and vision of my present and future, that all I do is faithful to You. Thank You for all that You have done in my life and all You will continue to do, for I ask this through Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.