Author Archives: Brook Fonceca

Embracing Process: It’s OK That Things Just Take Time

As I have been exploring the concept of embracing, I have been coming up with a lot of different ways to apply it. Actually, I’ve been stockpiling them, but this is the one that has risen the surface most prominently. We must embrace the value of process.


There are two things I have been thinking about lately that brought this into focus for me. The first is the creation story, and the second is the healing capabilities of the body (human, animal, etc.). They both speak to me that God designed process into the human experience.


In the first chapter of Genesis after the account of each of the six days of creation we have this phrase, “There was evening and there was morning: the first (through sixth) day.” This communicates to me that in creating the universe God took time to do it. Even when the “work” was done, God rested as a part of the creation process. If God used a process to bring about the creation as we know it, then we can expect process as an integral part of the earthly experience.


I am regularly amazed at the healing capabilities of the human body. In a home with five children, we see our fair share of bumps, scrapes, and cuts. All of which heal quite effortlessly, because God created our bodies to do it that way. 


The other night, I got to explain to my four year old about scabs. He was curious as to why we get them. I explained that they were God’s bandaids, protecting the wound as it heals underneath, and when it’s done healing, the scab falls off. It seemed to make sense to him. To me it is a testimony to God’s natural “miracles” found in the processes of life. It also reminds me that if we circumvent the process, we end up forfeiting the benefit the process was designed to provide (antibiotics, anyone?).


I share all of this in contrast to our “instant” society, in which everything should “just work,” “get done,” and we should “just do it.” The foil to all our advancements is process. It’s ok that things just take time.


What process are you needing to embrace? I pray God’s grace be with you as you seek to embrace the process before you.


Grace and peace,


Embracing Us, Because There Is No Them

I was talking with a friend the other evening, and I asked him about how it is possible that people can do unthinkable acts of violence. His response was that we are all a split second away from doing the same, meaning we all have the capability, but don’t allow ourselves to do it. That is an unsettling response, to say the least. I took away from this conversation that there is no us and them, only us.


This is what it means to be Jesus in our world. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Now we are the visible expression of Jesus in the world. Jesus lived out “there is no them,” which I believe is the heart of his inaugural statement in Luke 4:16-21.


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

    because the Lord has anointed me.

He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,

    to proclaim release to the prisoners

    and recovery of sight to the blind,

    to liberate the oppressed,

    and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.(v. 18-19)


It was as a human being and living within a system that separated people that he sought to bring God’s salvation. This declaration of ministry sought to close the gap that perpetuated the us and them mentality.


If we are honest with ourselves, we can recognize our own poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression, but, as well, we can receive the Lord’s favor and extend it to others, embracing the “us” in us all. God’s salvation is only a split second away.


Grace and peace,


Slowing Down: An Integral Part of Embracing

This morning while getting ready for the day I had a moment of panic. I realized that it was Friday, and I asked myself, “Where did the week go?” The thought was still with me when I was thinking about what to write today. It is impossible to embrace anyone or anything unless we slow down.


As I mentioned in my previous posts this year, embracing can be either physical or conceptual. We can embrace those around us. We can also embrace an idea or insight, especially as it relates to ourselves. Neither can happen when we are going too fast.


As the new year continues to ramp up and our calendars continue to fill up, let’s make the time to slow down, so we can enjoy those around us and the serendipities of our journey together.


Grace and peace,


Embracing the Light

Don’t worry, this is not a piece about near death experiences.


While thinking about the creation account in Genesis 1, I discovered that when God said, “Let there be light,” God was establishing the foundation for life. Life needs light. The same is true for relationships. The light helps us see ourselves. Other people can be a source of light for us. We can’t embrace others until we embrace ourselves. The faces of others reflect us to us. In 1 John 1:5-7 we read,


This is the message that we have heard from him and announce to you: “God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” If we claim, “We have fellowship with him,” and live in the darkness, we are lying and do not act truthfully. But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.


If we embrace the light of God we will more clearly see ourselves. If we embrace our neighbor we will be revealed for who we are. It’s in that place that can find the life to live beyond ourselves. It’s not easy, but necessary, if we want the beauty of the life we have found in Jesus to be extended to and discovered by those around us. It’s not easy, but necessary if we want to our relationships to honor both God and those we love.


May we find the grace to love by embracing the light.


Grace and peace,


Embrace: A Theme for 2013

As I mentioned last week. The theme of the articles for 2012 was “Building Bridges.” That theme’s basis was in the by-line “making Jesus accessible by being with God.” I see the theme of “Embrace” as a continuation of building bridges. When we make a connection or gain understanding, the next step is to embrace, fully engaging with who or what we find on the other end of the bridge. 


We often find ourselves in the process of building bridges. Here are a my thoughts along these lines from our reading in Genesis this week.


(Genesis 1:1-2) God’s Spirit was active at creation. When things had not yet taken shape and creation was a place of chaos*, Spirit was there, moving (hovering) with care and tenderness. When God makes us new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), there is still chaos in our lives, and the Spirit is there. The Holy Spirit presides over our chaos, acting in concert with us to transform that chaos into the image of Christ. There are deep waters there. This work of the Spirit in our lives takes time, but God is not put off or worried. He is there, waiting.  He abides with and in us. My prayer is that we would respond to his moving, embracing what we find, so that we would see the new creation begin to take shape and the image of Christ being more fully realized in our lives.


Grace and peace,



* The Hebrew for “formless” also depicts chaos and desolation.



Looking Back as We Move Forward

I have enjoyed the writings I’ve shared this year. The theme of the articles for 2012 was “Building Bridges.” We started out by seeing that building bridges to Jesus and the kingdom of God come about when we make Jesus accessible by loving people. We ranged far and wide within this topic, finishing up by celebrating Advent through the theme of community


What I have taken away from this year of building bridges is that in order to see lives changed, connections made, and God’s kingdom advanced, it begins with me. I need to humble myself before God and man. I need to make the first step in building and/or repairing relationships. I need to seek change in myself before encouraging it in others. In the counter-intuitive, upside down ways of the kingdom, God’s grace is given to the humble, mercy to the sinner, strength to the weak. When we see what needs to be done, but don’t know how, God is there to make the difference. And, it usually comes in the grace of someone showing love in Jesus’ name. 


I pray that in the next year, we continue to build on the things we’ve learned. 


Grace and peace,



A Community of Christ’s Love: Week 4 of Christmas Advent 2012

For this year’s Advent series, we will look at the themes of Advent, hope, peace, joy, love, and Christ, through the lens of community. This week let’s see how we can be a community of Christ’s love. (Since my thoughts this year are so close between the last two themes, love and Christ, I will combine them in one article.)


Christmas is love. Or, at least it should be. It is love that gave us Jesus’ birth. (John 3:16, Luke 1:38) It is by love that he lived, died as an atoning sacrifice for our sin, resurrected, and ascended. (Philippians 2:5-11, 1 John 3:16) Advent and Christmas are the remembering and celebrating this love.


To be clear, the definition of love that I am working with is that love is a giving of one’s self. God gave of himself by giving his son. Mary gave of herself by receiving Jesus as her son. Jesus gave of himself by living for God that he may die for us.


I believe that the church is the physical expression of Christ on the earth. As such, the church is to love as Christ loved, since it is his example we are to follow.


The beautiful thing about love is that it can only flow from love. We are only asked to do what Jesus himself has done for us. At Christmas we can receive the love of God in Jesus so that we can in turn love as Jesus loved.


May God’s love be yours as you love those around you this Christmas! Merry Christmas!


Grace and peace,


A Community of Joy: Week 3 of Christmas Advent 2012

For this year’s Advent series, we will look at the themes of Advent, hope, peace, joy, love, and Christ, through the lens of community. This week let’s see how we can be a community of joy.


In the Nativity stories (Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2), joy is continually expressed upon the realization that Israel’s Messiah has finally arrived in the baby Jesus. The hope of deliverance has come. Israel’s king has come to set things aright. This elicited great joy in Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, and Anna.


I was pondering where we can find joy today in the Christmas season. It is true that there is joy in our salvation, the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ. But, how about as a community? Consider this, Ephesians 5:18-21 says,


Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead, be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and submit to each other out of respect for Christ.


Often, when we think we are lacking joy, peace, hope, love, freedom, etc., we find ourselves going to old ways of coping with whatever difficulty we are experiencing. “Don’t get drunk on wine…” can stand for anything we would use or do to find relief. The passage instead encourages us to find fulfillment through the Holy Spirit within the people of God. Joy comes realizing your belong to the family of God. Joy comes through worshiping God in song and through giving thanks. Joy comes when we live openly with one another in Christ.


Let’s not do the same old thing this Christmas season. Let’s have an open heart to experience God in both familiar and unfamiliar ways. And, when you are with others, take joy in Emmanuel, “God with us!”


Grace and peace,



A Community of Peace: Week 2 of Christmas Advent 2012

For this year’s Advent series, we will look at the themes of Advent, hope, peace, joy, love, and Christ, through the lens of community. Last week I wrote about hope, this week our topic will be peace.


As I think about peace at Christmas time, I immediately go to the passage in Luke’s gospel where the angels proclaim, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:14) But as I was thinking about it, I found myself asking, “What is this peace that Jesus brings?”


I believe that it has less to do with the emotional feeling of being at ease than it is the reality of living in unity with one another. I find in both Mary’s song and Zechariah’s prophecy (Luke 1) that through Messiah’s reign there will be an equalization of people. Everyone will have an equal standing in the kingdom of God, rich and poor, strong and weak. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians picks up this theme.


Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God. (Ephesians 2:14-16)


A community of peace is an open community. One that welcomes in those we don’t know and who may be different than us. And if I have learned anything from Jesus it is that openness requires change. If we allow God to change us then we will be more able to embrace others. I’ve also learned that being a people of peace begins with the relationships closest to us.


I pray we have the grace to give the gift of peace this Christmas.


Grace and peace,