A Message from Bishop Karen Oliveto (12/3/22)

December 04, 2022
I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference as we prepare ourselves for the second Sunday in Advent.

Last week, I worshipped with FUMC Prairie Campus in Colorado Springs (CO). It was a somber day as the impact of the shootings at ClubQ continued to reverberate across the community. Following the service, Robin and I stopped to look at the memorial that had been created at ClubQ. Rainbow flags, bouquets of flowers, prayer cards and signs had been left in front of large pictures of the five people who had lost their lives in the shooting. The cries of people weeping were the only sound that pierced the silence as folks came to pay their last respects.
One sign left a deep impression on me was a black poster board with white letters: MY JOB IS TO LOVE. In the face of hate and death, the power of those words hit me hard and I have been pondering them all week.

We are in the season of Advent. Each Sunday is a chance for us to focus our waiting on the coming of Christ. The second Sunday of Advent’s focus is Love. We are reminded of a God who loved us enough to become one of us.

Through his teaching, Jesus makes love the center over and over again. He reminds his followers that all of the law can be summed up in two things: Love God and love others. He shows us what love looks like by standing with those on the margins, by being a healing presence, by pushing back on oppressive forces. Love, for Jesus, is an action verb that compels us to act when there is suffering, wrong-doing, and prejudice. In this way, our love of God is made visible in the world.

As we face a world where hate is paraded in the public square, where violence seems to have the upper hand, where we wonder if God has abandoned us, take time this week to ponder the Christmas miracle: Emmanuel, God-With-Us! Make God’s presence known to those around you through the love you share. Live the truth that is found in the familiar song: They will know we are Christians by our love.

Your job is to love.

Make this your aim. In everything you do, ask yourself, “Does this action, is what I am saying, increasing love in the world? Is it a visible sign of my love of God and neighbor?”
As you move through Advent, with your eye on the Christmas gift of Love, keep practicing grounding all you do in love. And watch your world change.

With love,
Bishop Karen