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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Bishop Mark J. Webb’s 2017 Christmas/Advent message

    December 11, 2017 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb

    I love the words of the advent hymn entitled “Send Your Word:”

    Send your word, o Lord, like the rain falling down upon the earth.
    Send your word.
    We seek your endless grace, with souls that hunger and thirst, sorrow and agonize
    We would all be lost in dark without your guiding light.

    Send your word, o Lord, like the wind, blowing down upon the earth.
    Send your word.
    We seek your wondrous power, pureness that rejects all sins, though they persist and cling.
    Bring us to complete victory; set us all free indeed.

    Send your word, o Lord, like the dew, coming gently upon the hills.
    Send your word.
    We seek your endless love.
    For life that suffers in strife with adversities and hurts, send your healing power of love;
    We long for your new word.

    As we journey through another season of advent and prepare for another celebration of Christmas, this hymn is my prayer.  Over the past weeks and months, we have continued to witness and live within a world that is deeply hurting.  Every day the news points to the reality of brokenness, fear and loss.  The struggles of racism, sexism, abuse, violence and many other forms of spiritual darkness seem overwhelming.

    I watch as the world seeks a response, a fix to all that is swirling around us.  Hear the good news!  Proclaim the good news!  “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This Savior who proclaimed that he came into the world, not to judge the world, but to save the world.  This Savior who continues to offer the hope that He is the way, the truth and the life.  This Savior who spoke the powerful words that he is the light of the world, and those who follow him shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of Christ.

    Send your word, o Lord!

    The world needs the truth of Advent and Christmas.  The communities in which we live and serve need the promise and assurance of a Savior.  The solution to the spiritual forces of evil that surround us was sent in a baby born in a manger, a savior who taught a new way, lived a sinless life and offered his life on the cross that we might be reconciled to god and then propelled into the world to offer that reconciliation found in Jesus Christ!  

    This advent and Christmas season let us be bold in receiving the gift of Jesus, let him transform you.  Let us be courageous in sharing the good news of this savior with those around us.  Let us watch with joy as Jesus transforms the lives of others and powerfully pierces the darkness with light!

    Let us pray and live the promise for our lives and within the lives of others – Send your word, o Lord!

    Jodi, Ben, Tyler and Lyndsay join me in wishing you a blessed and holy Christmas! 

    Bishop Mark J. Webb

    TAGGED / Episcopal Office

    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."