Excerpted from 2023 Advent Guide: A Season of Renewal, an Advent Guide for Lectionary Year B from the North Carolina Council of Churches.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the partnership of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
As members of the transgender community face an onslaught of hate emanating from our country’s laws, as women are forced to give up control of their own bodies, as the rights of our queer sisters, siblings, and brothers are erased . . . it is now more than ever that we must stand together with them. We see similar unifying patterns throughout history: some of the greatest strength in the feminist movement came from leaders at the intersections of class, queerness, and color. Where would we be without the leadership of Black trans women who rallied for our civil rights?
For far too long, women and LGBTQ+ folks have been told they are not enough. Held to higher standards that we could never hope to reach, while disproportionality facing greater challenges. No matter what the world throws at you, or who tells you that you don’t belong, the words from Paul to the church at Corinth ring true: “for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind” (v. 5).
On this first Sunday of Advent, as we welcome the new beginnings of this new liturgical year, may we also relinquish our cycles of oppression and usher in new cycles of acceptance and flourishing. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3).