Rev. Dick Thurston is the guest preacher. Music for today’s service: Jeffrey Chapman on flute. Kelly Talim on violin accompanied by Kai Talim on piano.
In that moment of the greatest darkness, when we cannot see the light, when the light is hidden, that is when light is the strongest.
As you come to this Christmas with whatever anxieties you bring, with whatever mortality you have witnessed, with whatever fears you have for our future on a national or global scale, Christmas reminds us that we have been to places like this before.
The light keeps shining.
It will shine in you.
This is the presentation by the children of Southminster at the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Here is how to enjoy it.
1) Start the audio.
2) Go to the first slide in the powerpoint.
3) Whenever you hear a guitar string pluck, advance the slide.
But winter darkness has a positive side to it. As we gather to celebrate the first turn from winter to spring, we are invited to recognize and honor the beauty in the often unwanted season of winter. Let us invite our hearts to be glad for the courage winter proclaims. Let us be grateful for the wisdom winter brings in teaching us about the need for withdrawal as an essential part of renewal. Let us also encourage our spirits as Earth prepares to come forth from this time of withdrawal into a season filled with light.
In the midst of death and darkness, in the time of Herods and Caesars, and their modern day greedy and destructive counterparts, Mary is our heroine because she says Yes to life.
That is the challenge before all of us. Whatever media form we use from talking to our neighbor to facebook to tweeting to writing letters to the editor, we must rise above the temptation to be post-truth—that is, to appeal to emotions and personal belief rather than objective facts.
We must tell the truth. Check the facts. Speak accurately. Speak righteously to use the churchy word.
That is the only thing that can save us now.
The path to forgiveness is a hard one. It is not so much about the other, but about the extent that the other still haunts us. When we are finally exhausted from carrying the sins the other has visited upon us, we are then ready to engage in the impossible path of forgiveness that eventually leads to a discovery: we are more alike than different.
Those who are outside the bubble take these texts and their religion as a whole very seriously. They do believe and are convinced that Jesus is a real supernatural figure who will return sooner than later and establish his kingdom. Many believe in a rapture and a role for the modern nation-state of Israel, the United States, and some other supposedly godless country like Russia or China, all engaged in a final battle that will begin in the Middle East.
What is shocking to the elites in the bubble is how many people really do believe that and who believe their role is to participate in making it happen. And they vote.
Forty days after Easter is a day Protestants generally don’t do much with as it would require going to church on Thursday and who wants that. So we generally skip over the ascension. This is where Jesus ascends in to heaven to take his rightful place. According to the creed, he “sitteth at the right hand of God the Father.”
What I am trying to articulate here is that the beloved community is not either Clinton or Trump. In fact, if there is any silver lining to the election of this boorish misogynistic, narcissistic bully, it is that the contrast between his rhetoric and actions and those of the beloved community are easy to see. Under Clinton and Obama, the difference between their neoliberalism and the beloved community is often hidden under a more genteel façade.
Under Trump, there will be and is new energy to resist him. It is important that this energy be channeled toward concrete actions of solidarity and activism for those who are now vulnerable because of Trump’s rise. Now is a time to recommit ourselves to the welfare of the radically unloved in the United States and around the world.