Thursday, December 04, 2014

We Need a Little Christmas NOW

For some reason, I see more fear, more angst, more divisiveness in the world lately; and let me be clear, I mean our own little part of the world. In a country that affirms commitment to "liberty and justice for all" and that has spent decades trying to atone for and heal the wounds of sexism, classism, segregation, xenophobia, genocide of native inhabitants, poverty, and brutal homophobia, it is heartbreaking to look around and see immigrants being demonized, businesses trying to control their female employees' healthcare options, businesses trying to deny service to same-gender loving couples (even as marriage equality is becoming increasingly the law of the land), and police brutality against communities of color. In this season of "peace on earth, goodwill toward all," the fear induced rage that appears to be overshadowing the "better angels of our nature" has reached almost epidemic proportions. 

I'm tempted to dust off my sociology degree and rail against systems of oppression, but instead I find my pastor's heart and theological training kicking in, simply wishing for healing...healing for those who are being hurt by the verbal and physical violence that is tearing our country apart, and healing for those who are so afraid of change and uncertainty that they are participating in oppressive and unjust rhetoric and behaviors. 

I support the passing of laws and court decisions that are meant to offer equal protection and opportunity to all people, but laws and court rulings do not change attitudes. For that, we in the spiritual community must speak out and offer loving, challenging, prophetic, and pastoral guidance to help people overcome their fears, embrace hope, and see the sacred value of all people.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of a baby who was born to a peasant class, whose mother was an unmarried and temporarily homeless young woman, who grew up to suffer abuse at the hands of religious and government institutions, and who, finally, was tortured to death by state controlled systems of oppression, let us honor that baby by seeing divine light, opportunity, and grace where before we saw fear, conflict, and scarcity. We can embrace hope. We can affirm the dignity of all of God's children. We can work for peace and healing in our world. We can insist on "liberty and justice for ALL."

The challenges are numerous and the solutions may not come quickly, but they begin with our prayers, with our love, with our optimism, with our commitment, and with our choosing to see God in the midst of those sometimes called "the Other." This time of year calls us to reclaim and live out the message of "peace on earth; goodwill toward all." We don't need Congress or Courts for that. We hope they'll do their part, but we can begin to do ours right now.

Join us at Sunshine Cathedral for our Holiday Concert on Saturday night (Dec 6th) at 7 pm and worship with us every Sunday in Advent (and throughout 2015); and worship with us on Christmas Eve at 8 pm or 10:30 pm as well. Help us be the embodied presence of divine Love and indomitable Hope this season and at all times. The world needs light right now; let us be the light. As the song (from the Broadway musical "Mame") says, We need a little Christmas NOW!

Holiday Blessings,

Rev Dr Durrell Watkins
Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral
1480 SW Ninth Ave, Ft Lauderdale, FL

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