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Christmas Message from Bishop Miller 2019

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O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Dear Friends in Christ,

At Christmas we celebrate that the prayer of longing quoted above has been answered in the incarnation of Jesus, son of Mary, Son of God, the Word made flesh. We gather again to hear the story we know so well and to hear the angelic proclamation, “To you this day is born a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” Luke records that, at the delivery of this news to the shepherds, a multitude of heavenly host praised God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”

As believers, we know that Jesus is the author and source of all peace, the peace of God which passes all human understanding. As the apostle Paul writes, “He is our peace who has made us one and broken down the dividing wall of hostility.” What God has done in Christ has broken down all barriers, all divisions, and united us to God the Father, to one another, and to all humanity as brothers and sisters made in the image of God.

The call to us this Christmas is to be agents of God’s unity to a world that has not fully lived into God’s reality. As we make our communion this Christmas, let it be for us truly a coming into union with God and God’s purpose for our life — to be the extension of his Incarnation as the body of Christ, the Church.

Wishing you every Christmas blessing, I am,

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller
Bishop of Milwaukee

Bishop Miller's Message on the Planned Student Walkout

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The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6 RSV)

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we gather this Sunday, we will hear these words from the prophet Isaiah. As we hear them, I want you to know that these words are being fulfilled not by little children but by youth across our state who have planned a walkout on December 13 to call legislators to act on safe and sensible gun laws that 80% of our citizens favor. Just like they did with March for Our Lives and 50 Miles More, young people are making their voices heard.

Here are two statements by local students in a recent CBS 58 news report:

“We’re supposed to learn the wonders of reading, literature, math and science, you’re not supposed to be worrying about am I going to turn this corner and is someone going to shoot my best friend in the head?”

“They’re (students) looking for exits rather than focusing on class and that’s not how we should be operating as student.”

Let us listen to our youth. Let us support their efforts and join our voices with theirs in calling for our legislature to act.

Yours in the fulfillment of God’s word,

The Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller

An Advent Greeting from Bishop Miller 2019

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Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding;
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say;
“Cast away the works of darkness
O ye children of the day.”

Dear Friends in Christ,

This above hymn came to mind as I prepared to write this Advent letter and begin to walk my last full liturgical year as your bishop with you. As most of you know, Advent is my favorite season of the Church year because for me it most resembles our life as Christians. We know that God has come among us in the incarnate one, Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus will come again in glory. And so we live between the first and second coming of Christ in what is already, but not yet.

Advent is a season of urgency. The call to prepare is now. We pray “give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light now” on the first Sunday of Advent. There is no time for waiting. This cannot be put off. For me, this urgency is amplified not only by the current political climate but by the news reports of farm closings in rural Wisconsin, increased numbers of homeless in our cities, and the increasing violence across our nation. I need Jesus to come and rule and reign and restore.

When I was young, a popular song sung by many choirs was this, “let there be peace on earth and let in begin with me.” It expressed for that time the much-quoted adage of our day, “be the change you want the world to see.” Advent invites us to be the kingdom — the reign of Christ — we want in the world. It reminds us of our citizenship and our way of living the citizenship, which we affirm at the beginning of each liturgy when we say, “Blessed be God and Blessed be his kingdom now and forever.”

My prayer as I begin this holy season is, “Lord, let thy kingdom come. Lord, reign in me. May I be a sign of our kingdom for others.” I invite you to join me in this prayer.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller