Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman
We Can be There as a New Hope
This weekend we celebrate the miracle of Christmas. Or is it that Christmas celebrates us? It seems like it, Christmas visits us from some otherworldly place. Some make it an explicit recollection of the sacred birth stories in Mathew and Luke, while others simply feel a sense of something different in the air, an urge to call old friends and remote family. We could see it as cynically commercial, but I prefer to think that commerce is really at the service of this strange visitation. May God bless us, even when we don’t know what we’re doing! Angels we have heard on high
We live in an age marked by the imposing hands of government and the constant unsettling movement of poor, disenfranchised people who can’t defend themselves enough to be even be safe in their own homes. Each system of government promises the greatest good for the most people, but even the best create unintended victims who are easily forgotten, ignored and excluded. Their is no room at the inn!
Suspicions swirl as to who can be trusted. People fill in the blanks with rumors and projections. Everyone is talking and few are understanding. The center will not hold as…the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity (Yeats). There is a madness that threatens to consume nations and families. Many are anxious and few are secure. In the darkest of times…they followed a star in the East.
In this season, this visitation of angelic whispers grips us, as if from beyond. We have a sense that new life and new hope is nascent among us. In the midst of the poor and rejected the world is once again pregnant with meaning, hope and love. We feel that somehow, secretly, there is new life being born now that will renew this world which is collapsing in upon itself. We wrap our gifts as expressions of love and interconnection as if we are the ones bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh as we honor the sacred emerging in each other. And they wrapped the child in swaddling clothes.
We are all caught up in this sacred liturgy: whether we know it or not, worthy or not, signing at the marketplace or kneeling at the altar, we are all engaged. By making the implicit, explicit, those who participate in the sacred liturgy of church seek to deepen and expand the experience and manifest the message. Perhaps we can be there as a new hope, a new life, is delivered in the midst of a world on edge and to the soul of a scared and alienated people. Perhaps we can be mid-wives and doulas. Perhaps we can rescue the child from the river or tell just one child they are beloved. And unto us a child is born!
You have a standing invitation. We are not interested in liturgical perfection. We are interested in ushering new life into the world. With symbols, sacraments and scriptures that light up the imagination, we are committed to feeding the soul and participating in the healing of the world through compassion and justice. We see our story as the continuation and manifestation of the ancient story. We’d like to share it with you. Oh come all ye faithful!