Jabbok Dawn

Tumbling in the Sand

Slivers of Light

Burning-candles-in-the-dark-

The texts for Sunday, December 16, 2012:  Zephaniah 3:14–20; Isaiah 12:2–6; Philippians 4:4–7; and Luke 3:7–18

You don’t light a candle in a well lit space

You don’t use a flashlight to guide you in the middle of the day.

You don’t hope and dream when the world is perfect…

It’s almost the Winter Solstice. It is during this time that the days get shorter and shorter and the light during the day isn’t even that great because the sun is so low in the sky.

It’s the time of year that people become depressed and tired
And we have parties and string up lights and gather together to fend off the darkness.
And it’s the time of year we light candles on the Advent wreath.
As the days get shorter and shorter, we light another candle.
Not because it is bright outside but because it is dark—very dark.

And, boy, this week, we sure saw how dark it is in the world
When at Sandy Hook School, twenty children and six adults were shot and killed before the shooter took his own life.

How dark a world it is.

Where children die daily from violence, hunger, and more.
Where mental health is poorly treated and people with those diseases are not cared for.
Where weapons of death are almost worshipped so that no one dare restrict someone’s right to kill.

How dark a world it is.

And so we light a candle — A tiny flickering flame of light.

We are so often overwhelmed by the darkness around us.
Shouldn’t children have the privilege to grow up?
Shouldn’t the innocence of life be protected and held close?
Shouldn’t things in this world be geared less toward death and hate and more toward love and hope and compassion?
The darkness is overwhelming when you think of all that is wrong in this world.

But we light a candle in the dark.
A tiny bit of light.
A tiny bit of hope.

And then we don’t pretend that it is not dark
we don’t stop mourning the loss of lives too quickly taken.
We don’t stop mourning the very power that death seems to hold
We don’t stop holding each other close

But we do dream.
We dream of a day when death will be no more.
We dream of a day when weapons will be beat into tools for work.
We dream of a day when children will lead us and their laughter will never be silenced by the violence of gunfire or bombs or starvation.

We do dream.
We dream of a world where everyone is welcome to the table
We dream of a world where nothing about who you are matters as much as what you are—a child of God.
We dream of a world where the image of God in each of us in made fully incarnate.
We do dream.

And as we dream, we watch the light
noticing a tiny flicker of flame…
the tiniest bit of light makes the darkness seem less dark
the tiniest bit of light is not smothered in seemingly infinite amount of night

And that is why we hope.
Because a light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

And our dreams, like that light, are more powerful than the hatred in the world.
Our dreams, like that light, have the ability to brighten our hearts and lives.
Our dreams, like that light, chase away some of the dark.

And our dreams, like that light
are tiny flickers of a far greater dream — God’s dream. God’s promise.
That is, indeed, transforming the world

And so our dreams are glimmers of this new heaven and new earth

A promise we cling to.

A promise we catch glimmers of
in the helping hands of first responders, doctors, nurses, neighbors, friends

A promise we catch glimmers of
in movements to end bullying and violence

A promise we catch glimmers of
in the work of food banks, churches, non profits, the mitten tree, ELCA world hunger, Good Gifts

A promise we catch glimmers of
in our own lives when we find ourselves loving someone—anyone—else

A promise we catch glimmers of
and we run toward
by lighting more candles in the dark
by participating in the glimmers
by dreaming of a better world
by hoping with joy for the revealing of God’s full dream
where the lame will leap for joy
the outcast will be gathered up
and our fear and sorrow will be changed to love and awe.
Amen.

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2012 by in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , .

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