A Message from the Methodist Chaplains for the Second Week of Advent: Love
In celebration of the Christian season of Advent, there will be an Advent wreath in the chapels at Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women’s Hospital, and each Wednesday, there will be a short devotional written by one of Methodist's staff chaplains.
These reflections can be read here on Employee Connections or picked up in the chapel. Scroll down for the message for the second Sunday of Advent.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah began on December 12, and there is a menorah placed in each chapel.
It is our hope that during these seasons and celebrations, you will find quiet moments to sit and discover something meaningful and life-giving for you.
Grace and Peace,
The Methodist Chaplains
Advent: Week 2
Greater love has no one than to give his life for his friends. John 15:13
When I was in the 5th grade at St Mary’s Catholic School, I knew all about the "love" of cheeseburgers. I had a crush on a girl named Mary Jane that burned with the great intensity that the Kinks would sing about that year, “Girl, you really got me now, you got me so I don’t know what I’m doing” — the pop music version of love. But I was about to have my first encounter with the kind of love the evangelist John was using to describe Christ.
It was in 5th grade that I received confirmation — a sacrament where we Catholics say in front of the whole church, “I commit to being a Christian” — as best as a 5th grader can say such a thing. I remember in one of our preparation classes reading the Prayer of St. Francis for the first time:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine love, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
A strong feeling came over me when the class read this out loud. It was a recognition — “Oh, this is what it’s all about" — Church and God and Christ and such. In my experience, this is the essential task described by all of the world’s religious traditions: to cultivate a heart of love. And I know people who don't consider themselves religious at all who try to live their lives this way.
We don't usually use the word "love" to describe what we do here at Methodist Hospital. But for me, our work so resembles what Christ has called us to do: healing afflictions, welcoming people as they are, reflecting back their absolute goodness and worth as human beings, and in so doing, healing not just their body, but their mind and heart — their soul.
And if that isn't love, then what is?
– Chaplain Mike McMahon