December 27, 2015

Pastor Letter

This time of year ferments sorrow and relief. There is a sense of relief that the barrage of holiday tasks, continuous jingle bell sound track and unrelenting activity are over. And sorrow, that the lights will come down, the sparkle will fade and wonder will melt into the background of “another year.”

  • I know I always grieve for the carols we didn’t sing this year. And yet the chorus’ we did sing, the music we allowed to enter our soul has nourished us, centered us.
  • I hold dear the stories of Christmas’ transformation and miss the ones we didn’t tell this season. And yet, the tales we did hear and the stories we repeated opened our imagination to the divine spirit who enters our life in mystery.
  • Amidst the myriad of opportunities to demonstrate kindness we were only able to share in a few. But those acts of service and compassion we did share, these build our capacity to notice and to respond to our neighbor.

Certainly this applies to more than the season of Advent and Christmas.

With finite time and energy, we can’t fit it all in. And we implode when we try. Part of the Christmas mystery of incarnation, is learning to excel in our limitations, our finitude. We see divine compassion not because it is general and vague, but because it becomes limited and specific. It becomes, in this instance, Jesus of Nazareth. The babe lying in a manger is not about spectacular birth events, but about loves’ proclivity to find a path in the vulnerable, particular and sensual.

Sometimes we become more apologetic for this historic, contextual event. There are settings we feel obligated to explain, in order to apprehend the meaning. Sometimes we long for a more generic “truth,” than this narrative that unfolds in an unfamiliar culture in a language we don’t speak. And yet, the wonder the love we meet in Jesus continues to insert itself into our souls, our conversation and the life of our community. The particularity challenges our desire to package a generic “acceptable” and “harmless” faith. It presses its way into conversations about how we treat the stranger, how we honor the earth, how we forgive our sister or brother.

May the love we experience in Jesus continue to weave it’s way into the world even as we recognize, in grief and relief, our limitations.

Pastor Mark