Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. –
Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
We have spent three Sundays listening to the strong and powerful voices of wise men and prophets. Men sharing news of what is to come – proclaiming good news and warning of the importance to prepare.
This Sunday the themes of sharing good news and preparation are ever-present yet we now shift to the gentle, honest exchange between two women. Filled with excitement and awe they share their insights. Together they can acknowledge the holy children they each have been called to birth and mother. They can openly share their excitement and concern. They can support one another as they experience the wisdom they have gained, the sacred they now carry.
Elizabeth and Mary greet one another with a sacred kiss and in her elder-wisdom, Elizabeth shelters Mary as she gathers her strength to proclaim God’s good news to the world. The good news that justice will rain down and mercy will be ever known. The scene has changed.
The time is near. As we have heard in the past weeks and here on this fourth Sunday of Advent, all of creation is preparing. May we continue to do the same.
A Blessing Called Sanctuary
You hardly knew
how hungry you were
to be gathered in,
to receive the welcome
that invited you to enter
nothing of you
found foreign or strange,
nothing of your life
that you were asked
to leave behind
or to carry in silence
or in shame.
became settling in,
leaning into the blessing
that enfolded you,
taking your place
in the circle
that stunned you
with its unimagined grace.
You began to breathe again,
to move without fear,
to speak with abandon
the words you carried
in your bones,
that echoed in your being.
You learned to sing.
But the deal with this blessing
is that it will not leave you alone,
will not let you linger
The time will come
when this blessing
will ask you to leave,
not because it has tired of you
but because it desires for you
to become the sanctuary
that you have found—
to speak your word
into the world,
to tell what you have heard
with your own ears,
seen with your own eyes,
known in your own heart:
that you are beloved,
precious child of God,
beautiful to behold, *
and you are welcome
and more than welcome
—Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace
For the last two weeks this country’s news and news from all over the world has drawn our attention to tragic stories of people’s lives being changed forever through senseless, selfish, angry and disturbing acts of violence. Violence that has caused death and life-changing injury.
Wait… did I not write about this three weeks ago, last month and the month before that?
No need to be flippant. Everyone is aware of the tragic state of affairs in this country and the dangerous anger rampant in our world. We may not all agree on what to do but many of us are certain that something needs to be done.
We are in the season of Advent. On this second Sunday, the prophets call out for preparation and repentance. May we look upon our world for all its beauty and its danger moving forward with fearless compassion. May this movement be as prayer. Called to repent, instructed to prepare – may we seek to find the points of light streaming through the dark clouds before us. Light that brightens a path to peace and safety.
Oh Tender Mercy,
Dawn upon us this morning,
Break into the shadows of death
that seem to be overwhelming
the many worlds in which we live, and those in which we don’t that surround us.
Oh Tender Mercy,
We pray for those
who are in mourning,
who are suffering in the desolation of loss,
who are drowning in the pain of the senselessness of violence.
Bring forth the light of hope to hold them as they sit in the shadows.
In silence and word, we offer prayers for those we know who are struggling: (silence)
O Tender Mercy,
Break upon us with your dawning,
Guide our feet with the strength of our prayers,
to walk in the ways of peace with action,
to do what we can do as your people
to pave ways of peace wherever we go.
O Tender Mercy,
Your dawn is new every morning,
and we are grateful the points of light in our lives, in the midst of the shadows around us. Your love prevails.
O Tender Mercy,
Break forth among and within us.
(Sunday Prayer Advent 2c RCL from RevGalBlogs )
Light near Ground Zero….
Almost like Jacob’s ladder. May the living and the dead know peace.
May our light keep shining…
(picture and reflection Mark Bozzuti-Jones)
as the sun sets on this Sabbath, I am acutely aware of the battle for power occurring among the ‘leaders’ of this country. I try to steer far from writing about politics (in obvious ways) — yet tonight as many people go to bed fearful of what tomorrow might bring, I touch the tip of this topic in hopes to introduce a different way to look at this time in history. some of us remember the movement called “random acts of kindness’. books were written, cards were designed and calendars created to help remind us of the importance of kindness. I was always curious as to why we needed such prodding to treat others, stranger and friend, with a caring heart.
this way of “acting” is no longer a given in relationships nor held in esteem by many in public service. and so as we move toward a critical moment in this nation’s history, I find the words – choose kindness – as each day’s mantra. while we are surrounded by news that’s purpose is to create anxiety and fear, let us test the practice of sharing kindness and good news. Below is an article concerning the influence of ‘good news’. For many of us sharing ‘good news’ is part of our life as followers of Jesus – at this time be encouraged to do this as suggested by St. Francis; “Preach the gospel (good news), if necessary use words”