I both love and hate this time of year. I love it because Advent traditionally asks us to prepare for the sacred to enter our lives. Metaphorically, we are told to not sleep, but rather be watchful for how we might let the saving power of love enter our lives. If we fall asleep, we might miss it. I love the challenge of this. Because what I hate about this time of year is how dark it gets too early in the day. Living toward sacred love counters this darkness. Advent breaks down in the Latin to toward the coming. For Christians, that’s the coming of Jesus of course, but for religious liberals it is more universalized in the coming of spiritual growth: gratitude, compassion, right action.
It’s great if we can find ways to volunteer and be of service this time of year (although I encourage us to do this year-round). There are two church-sponsored projects coming up that I wish to bring to your attention. On December 8, from 12 – 3 PM the church will be hosting “Sam’s Lego Drive.” Sam is 15 years old and the son of church members Tracy and Vanessa. In 2013, Sam was diagnosed with leukemia. During his treatment, his number one distraction was Legos. It helped him get through the ravages of cancer treatment. Cancer-free at 15, he wishes to share this unique type of comfort to children who are also sick in the hospital, by having the Lego Drive. Please donate a box of Legos on or before December 8!
In December, the worship theme of the month is MYSTERY, and I’ll be guiding us in worship the first three Sundays of the month to explore the mystery of radical kinship. Jesus called us into this radical kinship with our fellow human beings, which is my favorite thing about what he represents. First, we’ll introduce the concept with Father Gregory Boyle’s amazing book “Barking to the Choir.” Then the following Sundays I’ll be looking at what radical kinship could look like for us. I’ll be talking about a very special ministry I have done off and on since 2001 called “Caring Through Touch.” In seminary, I learned from Catholic nuns how to massage the homeless. Talk about radical kinship! It’s the most powerful volunteer work I’ve ever done and I want to share it with our congregation further, by offering a three-week class in January where you can learn how to do it. Then, we visit drop in centers for the homeless and offer 15 minute chair massages for those who would like it. If you ever wanted to experience the holy in a very hands-on way, this is a sure thing.
Happy Advent to all, and don’t forget . . . stay watchful . . . stay awake to the sacred!
– Rev. Hannah