Points of Sorrow: Valleys and Shadows

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I have been comforted on my Lenten journey to encounter Holy Presence in signs and detours and delight. However, I am deeply aware that I am also daily faced with other phenomena: valleys–of the shadow of death, of dry bones, of tears; and of depths–sorrow, fears and despair. I am of that era in my life where news of death, of troubling diagnoses, of unbearable losses are so regular that they are almost routine. Not a day goes by without another request for prayer–for the world, for the nation, for the Church, and for people who are loved and cherished. And so I travel the Lenten way on a road of mourning as well as rejoicing.

The “valley of the shadow of death” becomes more real to me each year. I have been helped greatly by reading the two volumes by Marilyn Chandler McEntryre for those traveling in that valley, those who are facing death themselves, A Faithful Farewell,
and for those losing someone they love, A Long Letting Go. The author herself, no stranger to grief, gives some perspective, some comfort and some practical helps is the process of mourning:

To mourn is to open ourselves to comfort, which is a unique dimension of love. To mourn is to make our sorrow hospitable to those who are willing to enter into it…Our work is to accept the sorrow, to live it, to suffer it, and finally in humility to let it be drenched in the healing waters of love that come to us from as many sources as we allow–great wells of it, great waves of it, and daily infusions from old friends and from strangers who may be angels sent to walk us through the valley of the shadow. (A Long Letting Go,pp. 84-85)

Part of my Lenten journey is to do this work of mourning, on behalf of those whom I have lost, and on behalf of those who are in the valley of the shadow themselves right now. Yesterday I heard of two more friends who have lost parents, always a turning point in each person’s life. I now know that grieving is holy work, an important piece of giving sanctuary to those I am given in the world.

Others within my ken can only see a Valley of Dry Bones when they look at our world–few life givers, few Spirit breathers, few points of Light. I resonate with that. If I only read headlines, banners and listen to sound bites, I know that dry bones might be all that I could see also. But I feel strongly that even as I look at the Truth, with as much clarity as I can, I must point to and witness to a bigger reality than the current state of things in the universe, the nations, the Church, even in the microcosms of deadness in our personal lives. I believe that in God’s providence, there are no final defeats. Therefore, I plant myself in that reality as a starting place on my Lenten journey, and then pray, as I weep over the Valley of Dry Bones, that the Spirit will breathe Life back into them. I ask also what my part will be in that; to whom do I speak? to whom do I give? am I invited to bear witness in a way that is public and noticeable?

And with those whose losses can seem less tangible, less noticeable, less dramatic, but who like the Psalmist have experienced that “tears have been my food day and night, while people say continually, ‘Where is your God?'”, I am to be a friend listening to their truth with respect and without judgement, and without letting their sorrow become my sorrow, only holding them with compassion and hope.

These valleys and shadows are not the easiest part of the Lenten journey. And once again I turn to a British hymn set to a French carol:

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,/your touch can call us back to life again;/fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:/Love is come again like wheat that riseth green.                                               (John Crum, 1928)

I hold this as I continue on my Lenten way, for those I have lost, for those I love, and for myself.

 

 

Personal photo of street art in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Points of Hope: Signs and Symbols

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Even though the Lenten journey is a serious one, leading to an intense Holy Week, I am also looking for signs and symbols that point me to hope along the way. Because Lent and Easter are so late in the calendar year this year, the days are accompanied by the signs of spring, even in our supposedly “season-less” Southern California.

My irises in the drought resistant garden are thriving, especially with the unusual rainfall. There has been a constant parade of beautiful blooms beginning in Advent (white) and continuing on with Lent, all purple, four come and gone, four to about to burst forth. The liquid amber tree and the fig tree next door have tender green leaves and shoots multiplying each day. The ornamental plum tree and the peach tree are showing their tiny flowers. All of them remind me that after the winter, after rain, after the Great Grayness there is Hope. The Creator has made each thing beautiful in its own time.

Another sign of hope has been discoveries of missing things. In my clearing out and de-cluttering, I have found things that I believed to have vanished–some pairs of socks, a quotation that I had written out on a card with decoration, some pairs of old shoes. I am reminded, even in the simple nature of the retrievals, that with the Holy One, nothing is lost, there are no final defeats. Hope can spring up.

Some signs locate me. Some creative people in the neighborhood painted the power boxes on many corners with folk art, reminding us of who we are, where we are, a gathering of people from many nations, places and beginnings. And we are people who in proximity to the freeway are people on the go, working, traveling, walking the dog. It is important to me as I journey, not to forget where I am grounded, where I am heading and whence I have come.

In the providential movement of this season, I have been engrossed by three memoirs, chosen without intentional theme, that have reflected to me a part of my beginnings that still shape me, but from which I have moved. Each writer comes from a different place than I have geographically, and each one is younger, but we have in common a shared religious heritage that gave us great gifts and enormous challenges. As I watch and listen to each voice, I am filled with hope. Thought there have been moments of pain, or disorientation, of wandering without a map, each woman has found her spiritual center, her place of belonging and her traveling mercies. I have found joyful hope in locating myself at points on each journey, and sharing moment  of  Grace.

I am finding that Lent is not only solemn and gray, but is also alive with reminders that Light and Darkness together are part of our human pilgrimage. This year it is profoundly important for me to remember that here on earth, although there is tremendous grief and suffering, there is also the whimsy, laughter, cheer, surprise of hope that manifests itself, sometimes daily–in the smile of the server, the grace of the responsive leader, the compassion of the helper, the delight of the discoverer, the unfettered laughter of old friends, remembering the way we were, and how it is Grace that has led us safely this far. I have taken on as a Lenten practice to look for those signs.

I am reminded of an old Brian Andreas drawing in which the angel appears to him in tights, he laughs and then knows that when signs appear, if there is no laughter in them, they are not for him. Nor are they for me. And neither are they for me if there is no Grace, no Joy, no Hope. On our way through Holy Week I am like the faithful one singing Psalm 126 of Ascent: ..our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy…the Lord has done great things for us, as well as small ones, in tiny but unmistakable signs. In Lent, I can rejoice.

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Points of Detour: Roadblocks

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Some days the Lenten journey is frustrating. I set out to do something, and there is construction on the street. I go to pay for something, and the computer is down. I send a note of good cheer, and it is returned to me, “Addressee Unknown.”  And sometimes all of those things happen in one day! What does that tell me about my attempts to pay attention to the sanctuary that God can give and that I aspire to be?

My attention gets turned to the Psalms, and how often they challenge me to wait.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, in God’s word I hope./My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. (Psalm 130:5,6)

The roadblock, the detour is an opportunity to wait for the Holy. These past six months of recovery and restoration from surgery and a fall have given me ample opportunity to wait–for healing, for test results, for new ways to re-engage with life as I was used to it. I will admit that I am not always fond of waiting. I much prefer to imagine a kind of Wonder Woman progress that swoops up into the adventuresome task and gets immediate results. But the waiting, the detours and roadblocks have given me some gifts as well.

They have focused my attention on the immediate moment, and led me to ask, “What is here in front of me–both to enjoy and to care for?” I have watched enriching TV that I didn’t know was there. I have spoken to people about uncharted territory, and learned things about my being and the mysterious world of created humanity that I never would have discovered. I have practiced small movements, prayed small prayers, celebrated tiny successes that heretofore I would have swept by. I have learned AGAIN that my worth to the Holy and to those I am given to love is not in how much I accomplish, produce and deliver, but in just being who I am, as transparent and as open as I can be, everything that I was meant to be in the moment.

The hold-ups also direct my attention to others that I might miss if I am zooming about my intended agenda too quickly. While slowing for construction, I wonder if if I have taken time to pray for those who are doing the demanding and dangerous work. If I am delayed by technical difficulties at a counter, can I feel compassion for the one who is trying to sort it out? As I meet the seemingly unending array of caregivers in doctors’ offices, am I a person who notices names and faces, and treats each one with respect and interest, while still asking clearly for what I need? And as I “wait for the Lord,” where does my heart rest in trusting that wisdom and wholeness will come?

So it appears that part of my Lenten journey is attending to the waiting, the already but not yet, things hoped for but not yet seen. The waiting is a place of looking close up, of listening deeply and of opening myself to see how the Holy will appear and in what guise. It is not wasted time, but another gift.

Help me in the waiting times, O Holy One.

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Points of Light: Women of Spirit

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Even though the liturgical paraments are purple in Lent, I experience the season as the Great Grayness, to borrow from a book my children used to read. It is exacerbated for me and the people with whom I have conversations this year because of the dis-ease in the world, more acutely in our nation and the Church. Almost every exchange I have, real or virtual, alludes to the Great Grayness. So as I wend my way on the Lenten journey, looking for and seeking to be sanctuary, I find I need to look for signs of hope, reminders that there are other seasons, and even joy along the way.

Today, International Women’s Day, is one of those reminders. All over the world women are speaking and acting their truth in a quest for justice and mercy for all women everywhere. With ease I recall how much of the hope and the energy I have been given on my journey of Spirit has been ignited and exemplified by the women in my life.

  • women of faith in my family, beginning with my mother and grandmother, neither one of whom would have called themselves feminists, but each one seeking to be all she could be as someone who was faithful to the One who called her and to the ones to whom she was called.
  • women of wisdom all my journey through, those who could see a wider world than I knew, those who not only saw me for what I might be, but opened out the multi-faceted world in which there was truth to be told, beauty to be seen, and power to be accessed on behalf of those without those things.
  • women of letters who articulated sensibilities and perspectives on my behalf, many of which were inside me, for which i had no vocabulary or vision.
  • women who became soul friends, sometimes despite unmatched backgrounds and experiences, but with whom I could plumb the heart of the matter quickly and often.
  • women who dared to step us and get out in front for the call of justice and kindness, with humility, women who were not afraid to say what needs to be said, to be nothing but themselves, and risk upsetting more than one apple cart on the way.
  • women whom I met only in passing maybe, for one brief shining moment, but with whom the joy and light shared were etched indelibly on my heart.
  • women who invited and needed my presence or my words or my experience, from whom I learned about worlds and dreams outside of the scope of my one, those from whom I received as much or more than I was able to give.

Thus Women’s Day is the birthday of my only granddaughter; she dances her way through “Mary Poppins” in the picture above (second row back on the right!), and as we have celebrated these past days, I see that she is another light-filled teacher of my days. Decades apart, dramatically different upbringing, she was born nine years ago into a world decidedly different than the one into which I entered. She is already social media capable, aware of many kinds of diversity in her neighborhood, school and city. She lives is a family that is diverse, one that blends identity and practice from different traditions into their unique way of being family. She has a sense of freedom and self that is unfettered by the Great Grayness. And I learn from her, even as I delight in her.

These women have been Light Bearers for me, no matter the circling gloom! I take hope, I am sheltered by them, and I am grateful!

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Sanctuary: A Place of Shelter

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czium_dozskabh7kasn21ndm7o8edvhd284hczzaxq3ezlbztzjhjl7vpc8fgfeabrm17as128I experienced sanctuary this past week, and what I found there was shelter: shelter from the torrential rains we were having, shelter from the hot desert sun in between storms, but primarily I found shelter in safety to be and to say whatever I was feeling and thinking. Friends created for us a safe space, where we could listen or speak, sleep or eat when the time was right for us, and be silent or enter a fascinating conversation in which we tried to resolve our wrestling, with curiosity and respect.

Sanctuary that sheltered occurred again later in the week when over a long nourishing supper, one guest poured out a heart of despair over the state of the universe, global and personal, and the listeners heard, received and offered themselves in response. No fixes, no remedies, just shelter from the stormy assaults of irresponsible, manipulative and abusive rhetoric that is characteristic of so much common parlance these days.

In the 1960’s a feature of the upheaval we lived through was given voice in rock music. Mick Jagger sang, “Gimme Shelter,” and Bob Dylan begged for “shelter from the storm.” In the church tradition in which i was raised, we used to sing “Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in the time of storm.” However, none of the singers–rock or congregation–ever imagined that the shelter of sanctuary was a permanent abiding place. The sanctuary that sheltered was a a way station, an oasis, a place of protective replenishment, on the way to plunge back into the madding crowd.

There is a way that the Lenten season is a shelter because it focuses me and contains me on an inward journey to be walked with Jesus. My attention each morning, beginning today when I wear the cross, asks me to pay attention and to act from a place of deep trust in my belonging to God; how does that identity both ground and shelter me and propel me to action in the world? Both the inward and the outward movements, claiming my spiritual identity and from that center, shining the Light on the darkness around us gives me sanctuary, comfort and energy.

So I will shelter in sanctuary in very small and undramatic ways. I will read from sacred texts, walk the labyrinth and sing songs that remind me that I am both “frail and glorious,” as Sister Macrina tells me. I will clear a space in my dwelling which has become cluttered, making room for Spirit. And I will pray with Bread for the World for the hungry ones, gather clothes for those who need them, and wear a pin designed by my friend Kris Haig that tells those I meet, “You are safe with me!” It does not seem like much, but in the practiced ritual of Lent, I am given shelter–respite, identity, protection–that empowers me for whatever lies beyond.

My prayer is that in that claiming of myself and my call in ministry during Lent, I will become a better and better sanctuary for those who need a listening ear, a place to rest, an infusion of beauty, a reassurance that the Light is  and will be still shining.
In our new hymnal there is a song introduced to me a few years ago by a group of young people, committed to working for peace and justice in our world. It is my prayer today: Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you. (John Thompson and Randy Scruggs)

The photo is of a cottage at Findhorn Foundation in Moray, Scotland.

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Sanctuary: A Place With Beauty

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firstrose17Looking for and wanting to be sanctuary this year, I wonder why beauty keeps popping up in my awareness. There is nothing inherent in beauty that keeps anyone safe! Yet it so many forms it signals shelter, respite, comfort, shelter.

The roses are all cut back for the winter, the rains have come steadily, insistently, watering the very dry land intermittently for two weeks, and we hope and pray that the aquifers are filling up, and that things will bloom, not just today but in the months to come. I walk out to the bare stems of the rose bushes, and there is the first Sutter’s Gold rose of this year, my beloved and cherished favorite, given to me by a soul sister over 20 years ago. It struggles in contrast to the younger, showier plants who will bloom sometime soon. But it was a heart gift–completely unexpected–that reminds me of Spirit, of loving friendship, and of hope.

Beauty gives hope…that there is more than bleakness, crassness, despair.

Matthew Fox says: Beauty saves.Beauty heals. Beauty motivates. Beauty unites. Beauty returns us to our origins, and here lies the ultimate act of saving, of healing, of overcoming dualism. Beauty allows us to forget the pain and dwell in the joy. (cited in Spiritual RX, Brussat,, 37)

There is a sanctuary in beauty that shelters, even if it is just for a fleeting moment, for one brief shining moment. My heart leaps up as I look at the bud of my Sutter’s Gold rose, even though I know that it will bloom, blossom and fade in an arc of precious few days. I take hope in knowing that as the rose demonstrates, there are no final defeats, there are wonderful surprises, and that the Holy One never lets us go.

So as I seek to be sanctuary, I seek, gather and create beauty where I am. It glows in my front garden. It shines in the faces in photos of my beloved ones, hanging on the wall. It shimmers in pieces of art gathered from travels thither and yon. It illumines the faces of those who enter our house for conversation or nourishment, and leaves an after glow when they depart. I find myself moved in gratitude that beauty amplifies the scent of comfort and joy. I listen to the prophet Isaiah who challenges the faithful to “give to them (the marginal and hopeless) beauty for ashes, and oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit,” (Isa.61:3) it is an act of resistance to provide Beauty in this world that God has created.

Marge Piercy’s poem concludes:

I picked the Sutter’s Gold to remind me/ I may love myself a little/ even when my work is done/ that many things are beautiful besides art,/ that if a rosebush can sit in the frozen/ earth enduring a dormant season,/ maybe I can learn to work without/ anxiety running its ripsaw in my throat/ to bear those peculiar flowers/ which carry in their centers/ both birth and death, let go/ and live on.   (The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing)

For me there is sanctuary in beauty…hope. I savor it, and intend to share it.

 

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Sanctuary: A Place to Be Heard With Kindness

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images-1After the marches around the country and world last Saturday, I heard a common theme from those who participated: they had found a safe place to tell their stories and were heard with kindness, even amid packed subways, crowded plazas, and inconvenient travel. Those who marched felt as if their voices mattered in a way that will make a difference. They felt safe, and even in the teeming crowds there as sanctuary.

This past week I retreated with my beloved soul friends who study and pray together the rest of the year. We felt safe enough in the historic and beautiful retreat center to wrestle with Jesus’ instruction to pray for friends and enemies. As we sank into the comfort and safety of that familiar place, as we allowed the wearying and harsh realities of our personal journeys and of the chaotic world to surface, we told stories–of childhood, of early years of mothering, of Grace given and of grief of rejection.

As I contemplate my Word for this year, SANCTUARY, I am recognizing that the sanctuary that I seek and that I provide needs to be a place in which truth can be told and listened to. Year ago my friend Ken Medema wrote these words to a song about the Church: If this is not a place where tears are understood, where can I go to cry? So I seek sanctuary in Holy Presence, in silence, in prayer, and then in words too deep for sighs. But I need it also in friendship–one who will listen without interrupting, one who hears without judging, one can sit in silence while I struggle for words. I hope for someone who can hold my reaction of the day in confidence without needing to analyze, diagnose and prescribe. I long for someone who can welcome my story, even if they come from another perspective completely.

I am called to practice being that safe and compassionate listener, especially this year. Every tragic event is made up of personal stories; every piece of draconian legislation threatens particular persons with livelihoods and loving to maintain. Every wave of change or upheaval affects the arc of someone–in person. I have a small amount of agency by which I can make a political or social difference, and I must exercise that. But I have more power by which I can lend and ear, savor a tale, cherish a memory of someone who needs to tell it and hold it as sacred.

These days I am wearing an ornamental safety pin designed by my friend Kris Haig to signify to someone, “You are safe with me!” I begin with being a safe and sheltered place to listen to stories–simple or convoluted, sweet or horrific, fantastic or dreary. The story of the Holy One who comes in love and compassion to humanity, never to let go, grounds me and gives me ballast when the whirlwind sagas of those needing shelter come my way. We can be safe. sanctuary for each other.

 

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Living a Word: Sanctuary

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Many bloggers and columnists advocate people of the journey to choose a word for the year ahead, and this year, in the wake of so much upheaval all round, my word has become SANCTUARY–to find my sanctuary in the Holy One, to be sanctuary from the storm and to offer sanctuary to the vulnerable and unprotected. The word and the intention feel big, daunting, yet absolutely necessary, since so many in the world are so fragile, so at risk and have so few resources for unknown roads of 2017.

So it was with joy when yesterday morning I got a phone call from my daughter in between appointments, asking if she could come to hang out at my house for awhile; “I need shelter,” she said. I agreed to her coming with alacrity, and for a few moments between tasks, we gave each other sanctuary–from traffic, weather, anxious cares and heavy sorrow. As the day unfolded, I kept remembering that mini-moment of sanctuary. What does sanctuary offer? what does it bring?

I am musing on those questions this week, as all over the universe things quiver and shake. The conversations into which I am invited nearly always have a shade of anxiety about how the world is turning–an earthquake, a bombing, a rupture, a parade of resistance. I do not believe that being and acting as sanctuary stops any of those disruptions, but I see that having some sanctuary–a place where it is safe to be who one is, a place without agendas to be accomplished, a place where all is well for the moment–can be an agent of healing and restoration. It is no wonder that Jesus invited his beloved ones to “Come apart and rest for awhile,” in the midst of a challenging and hostile environment.

So this year I will be reflecting on how I live in sanctuary and provide sanctuary for others. I know some elements: warmth–physical and spiritual; shelter–from noise and from harassment;  genuine welcome; and, I have come to believe, beauty. It is January, yet in my front yard white and purple irises continue to bloom. Other flowers pop up here and there. The gifts from the Advent and Christmas season bring illumination to new corners on the wall. New pictures of loved ones smile out at whomever is gathered. Familiar quilts and blankets, scented candles and delicious aromas make everyone feel at ease as they take respite here for the moment.

So I am living into claiming and being sanctuary while at the same time, I gather my resources that energize me to do justice in and for the places to which I am called; to love kindness and let it be the dominant tone of my words and actions; and to walk humbly with Holy One, learning what true sanctuary can mean for me and for the world. I have much to learn, but I am energized for the living of it!

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3 Gifts of Epiphany for the New Year

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In these 12 days of Christmas, I have felt very much like the Little Drummer Boy, singing, “I have no gifts to bring…” or Christina Rossetti in the carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “What can I bring him, poor as I am…?” We are heading toward Epiphany where the Wise Ones bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts both mystical and practical, elegant and marvelous. And I feel as if my cupboard is bare after this season of healing and world trauma. However, in the way that the Spirit seems to work with me, I keep encountering at every turn this finale of the Love Hymn in I Corinthians, King James Version: “And now abideth these three–faith, hope and love…” And I am delighted–in spite of my recovering health, in spite of the losses in the past year, in spite of the predictions and prognostications about the state of the world and what will happen next, I do have those three things; they abide–in me and in the world.

I continue to have Faith. I experienced Holy Presence all through my surgical process and the aftermath, in each step of recovery and setback, even or especially in faith-filled folk who come by me, in person or on-line. I can wear with integrity my ring that holds Lady Julian close to my heart, saying, All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

I have Hope, on which I mused in during Advent, not in particular outcomes or even in absence of chaos and terror, but in that Holy Presence who never leaves us or forsakes us, and whom the author of Hebrews tells us, often has a better idea for our future than we can imagine, ask or think.

And I have Love. I have been given so much love in my life–some of it well-intentioned but poorly executed, some of it unable to show up all the time, some of it intuitive and caring from afar–but I am loved, not the least of all by the One who calls me by name, and to Whom I belong. And Love begets Love; out of the love I have been given, I am free to love those I am given–longtime friends falling on hard times, new friends who need some ballast, those who are nearly ever noticed by those they serve, those who seem to be difficult by character–learning how to pray that they will be blessed and have their deepest needs satisfied.

So on this Epiphany I come to the Holy One bringing my gifts, maybe more truly giving back what I have been given–Faith, Hope and Love–with the prayer that they will deployed in the places most useful, healing the places most sore, and giving Life and Love to a world which seems to have a short supply of any of them. I pray that these gifts will enrich us all in the world that God loves!

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Christmas Joy!

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Anne Sexton proclaims that there is Joy in all! What more evidence can there be than the blossoming of five irises, with at least five to come amid the long-desired rainfall that appeared in these last days of Advent! Christmas comes replete with tidings of comfort and Joy in the arrival of the Baby Jesus, who at this celebrated moment is only a hope, a possibility and a dream! And I have done all that I can, both to make my beloved ones comfortable and Joyful, and to enter into the Joy myself, sometimes with mixed success. Yet the signs of Hope throughout Advent have kept pushing me to stay awake to the places and ways which, in the words of C, S. Lewis, “…cheerfulness keeps breaking in!”

The signs and the blooms of Joy on this day are everywhere–children singing loudly, even on key, the old Christmas carols with open hearts and wide eyes; thoughtful and prophetic pastors who don’t settle for the same old/same old messages and routine; caring friends who acknowledge my limitations this year, and come round in message or person anyway; posts from those who are feeding the hungry, expanding their giving on behalf of the vulnerable, writing and marching for both justice and mercy for the little ones.

Yet, many among my acquaintances want to make sure that I know that there are many for whom Joy is not readily accessible, and I am deeply aware of that. Hospitalizations, freak accidents, sudden losses, fractures of personal connections that can’t seem to heal, all make Joy a slippery commodity. And the “weary world!” Good grief! what can we say to the callousness, the arrogance, the brutality and the self-absorption that makes up the Slough of Despond through which we are muddling these days!

I submit once again the Joy–the Joy that is heralded by the angels–is not connected to the era in which we live, the location we inhabit, our status within or without families, even our body’s frailty. It is a gift from the Holy One, reflecting that above, around and through all we are created by God. The write of the Psalms remind us that in Holy Presence is fullness of Joy (Psalm 16:11). Two themes go throughout sacred testament–1) Joy is gift of God, even as it was when Christ was born, and 2) humans have the capacity to choose it, even when they are in dire straits and unhappy. I cannot choose for anyone else, but  I can make it my aim in my quest to keep the Light shining to choose joy. Karl Barth says, ” Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

And so on this Christmas Day I again commit myself to choosing and practicing Joy–in the healing process my body is in, in the disappointment in what people do and don’t do, among the miasma of doomsday prognosticators–Joy because in Holy Presence is fullness of joy, and Christmas comes to tell me that the Christ will never leave or forsake. That belief and ground in Joy is what keeps me centered when I am called to lobby for mercy for the poor, to protest injustice for the displaced, to advocate for those who do not have the privilege I have as a white, heterosexual person with education. .

Joy to the world…God has come and given me power to share and spread that Joy!

 

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