Shelter for the Spiritually Homeless

It's a season of Christmas cards. And though this might be a trite way to share the spirit of the season with our loved ones, it is something I enjoy. As someone that is terrible about using the phone and likes to get mail, I love the Christmas card season (mind you, I have not sent mine).

And this week, I got a card from my denomination. It was actually sent to the previous associate, but really, I don't care. It's a really pretty card that proudly declares "God is still speaking" which comes as no surprise to we in the proud UCC. But, what I really like and have never noticed in the other GISS campaign materials, is what appears on the back of the card in plain old 12 point font: Shelter for the Spiritually Homeless.

My peer in ministry retorted, "if only we could live up to that!" Perhaps it is a lofty aspiration, but a noble one I fear in this world where our Episcopalian brothers and sisters are fighting about the full humanity of God's children to the point of division. I should read more about this Nigerian Bishop to understand what the real matter is underneath the rift. But, it only depresses me. It depresses me that this is what we fight about when Jesus sent us out to love. Didn't he? Or did my exegesis go totally haywire?

As I sit here composing my Christmas prayer, I realize that I'm stuck in darkness. I didn't really think about it until I tried to write this prayer for Christmas -- not Advent, but Christmas. I can talk about the darkness and the longing. But, I wonder if our hope is met with dissatisfaction. Two thousand years later, it seems that I identify more and more with the shepherds shock and the wisepeople still on a journey toward peace and light. I really, really want Mary's confident prayer "Here am I, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word" (Lk 1:38, NRSV). But, I'm stuck in the darkness wanting to proclaim light more than anything. But, how can I?

1 comment:

steve said...

I can relate to that sense of being "in the dark," of longing for something that is not yet come.

I wonder, to what extent is that simply a function of being in a state of creation -- a state of less than perfect union with God. Who was it who said "my heart is restless and shall not rest until it rests in Thee?" (or words to that effect)

At the same time, I find myself wondering if it is too easy to fall into the notion that we must strive harder to "find" God. Perhaps there is a lesson here from the Buddhist teaching that striving cannot achieve happiness -- happiness is not a goal; it can only be achieved when you realize that you have already "arrived." In other words, if we accept the idea that God has already "arrived," our job is simply to be aware, to be mindful of Her presence.

Perhaps God was in the joy you felt reading that card from your congregation. Or in my son's laugh when I tickled him as I put him to bed.

Or, better, since God is presumably everywhere, the question is not so much where God is -- but where God speaks to us most powerfully.

I hope these reflections make sense. I pray for a holiday season of love, joy, and peace to you.