Bishop Tracie Bartholomew

A Call To Prayer - from Presiding Bishop Eaton
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Advent 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,


In late November I was at Grace Lutheran Church, Phillipsburg to help celebrate their 150th Anniversary. During worship, children of the congregation came forward to spend a few minutes with the pastor and deacon to hear a word spoken especially for them. Each of the children, along with Pastor Bernie Kelly and Deacon Karen Kelly, was wearing a gift tag necklace with their name and the words “belongs to God”.


Earlier in the morning, the children had been learning about belonging to God through baptism and they made nametags to state that clearly. As the children’s time was coming to an end, I was presented with a tag with my name on it that one of the children had made for me.


As I look at that tag now sitting on my desk, I can’t help but think how much it looks like a gift tag for a Christmas present. And maybe that’s what it is – a gift tag reminding me, and all who wear one, that our lives are gifts from a loving God who comes to us in Jesus.


In these late days of Advent, the second in a pandemic, perhaps it does us all some good to remember this simple truth – we belong to God. And in that belonging, we are connected one to another. I wonder what would happen if we all wore such gift tags on a daily basis. Would we treat one another with more love and respect realizing we are part of the same family? Being tangibly reminded of whose we are, would we look at ourselves differently? Maybe we should make such tags for each other and find out.


You belong to God, my friends, and in that belonging you are held close to the one who draws close to you. Be reminded, celebrate that great good news, and live in joy because of it.


Merry Christmas, 

Bishop Tracie Bartholomew

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