Saturday, November 26, 2016

Advent I 2016

Advent 1 2016

that the world has broken open
and sparks can reach the bedrock,
now Love
arcs across the Earth;

The fire of hope,
caught up in galaxies and mystery,
is loosed, is born; the fire of hope
has come.

What hearth do I give,
what tinder do I offer,
that this fire
may feed, may flare, may save?

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nothing Less is Asked

Oh Glory, has it ever been a Week. 

A week in which one of my more popular turns of phrase was simply, “SERIOUSLY??” and in which the answer was a bleak and blanching “Yes.”

And then I read Toni Morrison:

~This is precisely the time when artists go to work.  There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear.  We speak, we write, we do language.  That is how civilization heals.~

So, here it goes.

In July, I wrote that ~Though it is the only way I know how to Live, how to have/feel/know a sense of Home, Meaning, Call, or Freedom, I sometimes find it strange and inexplicable that I continue to believe so strongly in a God of Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Inclusion, when the world is filled with such hatred, violence…And yet, I do. I believe that there is a light no darkness can overcome. I must, if there is any sense to be made at all. Or, I must, if I am to welcome and to be welcomed by this Mystery and live within it.

I wrote that in response to the attacks in Nice, France that were followed by an attempted coup in Turkey. In November, I re-read this in full knowledge that it applies as well to the current state of politics in the US.

As the repercussions of the Electoral College choice for president play themselves out, I cling to those few things I can control.  One of them is my hope. No matter who sits in the Oval Office, no matter which party controls the House and the Senate both, no matter what I read about which established policies will be rescinded, reframed,  or removed, I control my hope.  What I believe in is up to me.  And I believe in a God of Love.  I believe in Jesus, union of humanity and divinity, Word made flesh, who dwelled among the scrappiest sorts and called them friends.  I believe in the Spirit, living and moving and having being in God’s people. 

And this hope, these beliefs, have implications.  I need only look to Jesus to understand that.
To believe as I do means I am called forth to stand for justice, to act for justice.  I am called to acts of compassion.  I am called to include, welcome, forgive, challenge, and seek to understand.  I am called to speak sometimes and to be silent sometimes.  I am called to discomfort and deep joy, I am called to Life in abundance and to helping bring that about for neighbor, friend, enemy, and unknown.  I am called to Love.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 Love, lived fully, is astounding, confusing, redemptive, and frustrating.  Nothing less is asked of me than to live those emotions in vulnerability and passion.

Love, lived in fullness, is spacious, generative, and a personal commitment lived out in a beautifully nuanced, diverse, community that is not always easy to be with.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 And Love, lived fully, leads to the cross.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 This does not depend on who is in the White House or which party dominates the House or Senate.

It depends on my response to God’s invitation to “Come, follow...”  It depends on my response to God’s people who cry out.

It depends on whether I give up or continue to believe that there is a light that no darkness can overcome even when it might be but a match or the spark that arcs in sudden freedom when two opposing forces strike.

And I depend on God.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

All Saints

"All Saints" by Wassily Kandinsky
The Feast of All Saints is one of my favorites.  Each year I welcome the reminder that there are those who already know the way Home and who surround us, who accompany us, as we make our way.

These last days we have had several conversations in community about Saints, about Spirits, about the presence of those who have gone before.  It is not surprising that we have spoken about this among ourselves more this year than I remember doing in the past—two of our sisters in this city have died within the last several months and their deaths have been keenly felt by the community.

It is interesting to me that when I think about what makes a Saint…or the image I have of Saints…the first thing I think of is a person’s humanity.  Somehow, living the fullness of their humanity IS the divinity that radiates. 

The saints I know have dirt beneath their fingernails and sometimes raggy hems on their pants.  They’ve touched down and pounded upon this earth…sometimes dancing, sometimes mosey-ing, sometimes thumping, tripping, falling, sometimes simply walking as they are called to walk—with a limp, a hitch, a strident stomp, a list to one side, a swimmingly graceful light step…with each step, however taken, moving them onward in this adventure.

They have lived and shown to others the edges and quirks of their full humanity—The pointy bits and the softer ones.  They have lived as Who They Are because anything less would be too confining, too “other” a shape.

They are those people who by their own freedom invite others to live that way too…in fullness.  Including mistakes, fragility, upset…including the fullness of knowing that when this strength and vulnerability, this passionate and cantankerous humanity comes together through different lives and sets of experiences, Things Happen.

Things that are challenging, sometimes.  Things that are hard, messy, needing forgiveness, pardon, reconciliation…

And, things that Change Lives. Things that not only speak of God, they Unabashedly Proclaim God.  These saints are people who make Love manifest in all of its fullness and nuance and who invite others to do likewise.

They are people who sometimes frustrate, sometimes challenge, sometimes console, sometimes confuse, and people who radiate a love of God that cannot be held in check, cannot be suppressed, denied, or left aside if they are to Be.

I have known some of these people over my life and I am grateful.