Blue Christmas Dec 19, 2019
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
The people who walk in darkness
see a great light;
those who live in a land of deep darkness—
on them, light shines.
Light is a beloved metaphor for God – the church uses it a lot, but we're not the only ones – the human experience of light is quite universal. We bask in the long days of summer, while in the winter we gravitate toward candlelight and the fires in our wood stoves . . . we hold our flashlights close on dark Gabriola nights like these and, are always prepared for a power outage. In dark corners of the world, we can still look up to see the sky brilliantly lit with stars. Light is hope when our lives seem dark because we know intuitively that light says to the darkness, "I beg to differ." Mary Jo Leddy
Light is also associated with insight or a breakthrough, like someone turning a light on inside of us, lighting a space previously unknown or unexplored.
For so may reasons light is special and unique, but this is my favourite . . . when we detect light with our eyes, we see these tiny photons moving around at light speed, illuminating objects so we can see them. But if we were able to hop on the back of a photon and see the world through their eyes, we would see something quite strange indeed. We would see all of space at every moment in time simultaneously. From the photon's perspective, it is not constrained by space and time, rather it occupies all of it . . . always and forever. So, A. science is awesome, and B. that sounds a lot like God to me.
God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. God invites us into God's story of love, life, brokenness, waiting, healing, and love's new life emerging. Everything in the universe participates in cycles of renewal. Here at the darkest time of the year, we might remember the promise of sunrise, the promise of spring, the promise of a new moon revealing a sliver of light from the sun.
Leonard Cohen says, there's a crack in everything . . . that's how the light gets in. It is in light's nature to break into the darkness. The light says you are not alone and this is not the end of the story. My childhood pastor gave me Mary Oliver's poem one Christmas about 20 years ago . . . I can't remember why. It struck me differently when I read it this time. I just hear her saying yes . . . yes there is regret, yes there is despair, yes, there is connection in the midst of it, yes seasons continue to turn, and yes God continues to invite us forward into possibility. God doesn't move quickly, sometimes the waiting seems endless, but it will not be forever . . . the light will come. Thanks be to God.
by Mary Oliver
"Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine..." You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.