Following Joseph and Mary...

So there are still some presents to wrap - and the floor to wax - but while taking a break I came across two insightful Christmas Eve postings from Richard Rohr and Ron Buford: a Roman Catholic and a Protestant - a white monastic and a black lay person - with a host of other differences, too. But they "get" Jesus - and share his grace - and in this find more common ground than would otherwise be possible.

Kingdom people are history makers. They break through the small kingdoms of this world to an alternative and much larger world, God’s full creation. People who are still living in the false self are history stoppers. They use God and religion to protect their own status and the status quo of the world that sustains them. They are often fearful people, the nice proper folks of every age who think like everybody else thinks and have no power to break through, or as Jesus’ opening words put it, “to change” (Mark 1:15, Matthew 4:17).

Why do we love and admire kingdom people like Mary and Joseph, and then not imitate their faith journeys, their courage, their non-reassurance by the religious system? These were two laypeople who totally trusted their inner experience of God and who followed it to Bethlehem and beyond. Mary and Joseph walked in courage and blind faith that their experience was true; with no one to reassure them they were right. Their only safety net was God’s love and mercy, a safety net they must have tried out many times, or else they would never have been able to fall into it so gracefully.
(Richard Rohr)

Dear Ron takes a different tact, but underscores the same truth when he writes:

It’s Christmas Eve and I ask you, “What exile are you bringing home for Christmas?” Is it easier to talk about making peace between Israel and Palestine, about international cease-fires, about bringing full marriage rights to same-gender loving people, about freeing Tibet and illegal aliens than it is to forgive someone who betrayed you, or a family member or friend who hurt, violated, embarrassed you or let you down?

You think making peace is easy. So, what exile are you bringing home for Christmas? It’s time. Bring an exile home. Make peace without conditions. Think you cannot do it?

Oh! Are you the exile? You can’t forgive yourself for something? God says, “It’s time to bring the exile home.” If this nation can put a Black man in the White House, with a mix of northern and southern states, then you and I can make peace – with ourselves, with others, with the world. It’s time.

God has taken away judgments against us. We have escaped disasters’ worst. Those who aimed to hurt us have not totally overcome us. Our fortunes are beginning to be restored . . . and you and I can make peace.

Gracious God: Help me do the thing I really do not think I can do. Help me make peace. I do not have the power or the will to do it. Please give me the strength, the courage, the wisdom, and opportunity to make a healthy and lasting peace with some exile in my life this holiday. Amen.

Ok, now it is back to work - and then worship - and a time to rejoice in the deep blessings of grace and the healing of peace-making within and among us all. Merry Christmas!


Black Pete said…
And on earth peace, to those of a good will.

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