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Wednesday December 16th

Psalm 125; Malachi 3: 16-4: 6; Mark 9: 9-13

We are living in difficult times, times of anguish, affliction, crisis and great stress. We see all this reflected not only in what happens around us; but if we are good observers, we realize that in many people’s faces there is a reflection of a lot of anxiety, pain, worry and stress.

The news overwhelms us and fills us with more concern as it is very, very discouraging. However, in the midst of everything that happens around us, in the midst of the storm and in the midst of the tribulation that the children of God are experiencing, we recognize that Jesus our Savior came to rescue us. To rescue us from what? From hatred, from pain, from revenge, from folly, from racism that we are living daily, from social injustice, from the evil that has arisen lately and that has greatly devastated the entire world.

The good news is that Jesus came to our troubled hearts and to give us peace to reassure us that also this shall pass. The words that stand out from Psalm 125: 2, “The Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” come alive in our lives. Especially now that we are living in uncertainty and experiencing the movements that have emerged such as “Black Lives Matter” to remind us that it is our truly God who is going to embrace us now and forever as his treasure possession. Therefore, he will be in charge of providing us with peace in the midst of the storm, to calm down our anxieties, to be the balm and comfort for our pain and brokenness, justice in the midst of injustice, transformation, renewal and restoration of a life that has been broken but that only God the great I AM can change. It is a reminder that we all matter to God as well.

God continues to manifest himself in these times of change for the country and society in general. We see him in the midst of the pandemic, in the midst of his church that has risen like the sun whose rays emanate the splendorous light illuminating our walk in the darkness of this world. The image of the sun of righteousness helps us to trust him more because he is providing us with the healing that humanity is crying out for (Malachi 4: 2).

Jesus, in this Advent came to raise us from death, pain, sin, and give us life in abundance (Mark 9:10). Jesus came to heal our hearts, breakdowns, physical and emotional illnesses so that as his children we can remain united as his people, as one regardless of race, color or sex; because then my siblings, we will all be together in heaven worshiping him, as one body.

Almighty and eternal God, may you be exalted forever, because you are great and sovereign. We ask that you continue to remind us in this season of Advent that you are the sun of righteousness and that you have come to heal our hearts from any kind of pain, anxiety, anguish or tribulation. Help us to remember that it was through the glorious coming of your Son, Jesus Christ that we have been resurrected together with Christ and that we no longer live but Christ lives in us. Thank you for your glorious coming into our lives. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Ana Espinoza-Gherardi Ana is originally from El Salvador, Central America. She arrived in the United States more than 15 years ago, married to David Gherard and together they have a 4 year-old named David Matthew. Member of Latinos Unidos en Cristo where during Rev. Daniel Beteta’s retirement, she became the pastor in transition for 2 years and now serves as pulpit supply when needed. She studied her Master’s degree in Divinity at the Fuller Theological Seminary (144 units) and graduated in May of 2018. In November of 2018, she also completed her ordination process with the Presbyterian Church. Currently, she is teaching theology in ELET (School of Theological Studies) located in El Cerrito, California. She became a COM member in November 2020 and applied for the 2021-22 CPE residency at Stanford Hospital. Ana also is attentive and awaiting for God’s call to serve in a Presbyterian church.