A good friend and former colleague said time and again that Advent really begins with John the Baptist: a voice crying in the wilderness calling for repentance. It’s certainly a perspective worth considering, but it’s not one that ordinarily comes to mind for many Christians as they enter the Advent season. ‘Repent of what’? becomes the question.
You are here
Dear Old South Church in Boston,
As many of you plan Thanksgiving travels, you do so under a world-wide travel alert. Ours is a fear-filled, tear-stained world.
In most of the news stories, at least the ones carried in the more popular media, there has been only passing reference, if any at all, to what many consider the major cause of the continuing violence in Israel / Palestine: the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
A rainbow came out today. It came out in response to the Supreme Court of the United States ruling that the Constitution grants same gender couples access to the institution of marriage. Long and lovely and glistening with justice, this rainbow now spans the United States of America, stretching from sea to shining sea. It is a sight to behold, this rainbow. And, oh, so hard won.
On the occasion of the United States Supreme Court's ruling, legalizing same-gender marriage nationwide. June 26, 2015.
God, we know that there are rainbow flags unfurled and hung out in heaven today.
We know that there is a great flash mob of saints dancing for joy in the streets on the other side.
We know that you called a stop to the angel choirs’ Holy-Holy-Holy-ing and said, ‘Can’t you do a little Diana Ross?’
God, we know that today, love has won on earth, and that at long last, your will has been done here, as in heaven.
As we move through this “growing season” of Pentecost, we are reminded that the Spirit has come to dwell in each and every one of us. On Pentecost, the Spirit came (like a tongue of flame) upon each person gathered in Jerusalem, offering itself in various iterations of language, heritage, ethnicity, and variety of experience, age, and gender. What an incredible reminder to us: we are always to “leave a window open to the Spirit”, who appears in unexpected ways, which we do not control.
We are in the season of Eastertide, these fifty days that stretch out from Easter to Pentecost. Here we are to remember that it is the God of resurrection who rolls away the stones blocking the exits from our deadened ways of life. It is the Spirit that beckons us forward into new possibilities and hope. It is the God of new life that breaks the chains that have held us in worn-out places full of fear.
The UCC Lent Devotional for April 4, 2015:
"The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment." Luke 23:55-56
This year, April begins as we are in Holy Week. We are in the midst of a journey that changes us and changes the world. Here we are living out the story of God’s turning the rules of power, privilege, and control upside down. We witness to the fact that Rome and the Jewish leaders wanted no part of the vision of the world that Jesus was introducing. Jesus taught and lived out the inclusion of the poor and dispossessed, release of the captives, sight to the blind.
It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test." (Luke 4:14)
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