Advent 16

A shoot shall come out of the stump of Jesse.  The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.     Isaiah 11: 1a, 6


Children were our ministers.

We arrived at church yesterday morning heavy of heart, raw, and peeled back.  After hearing the news of bullets unleashed in an elementary school and after seeing the faces of snuffed lives, there was an almost physical need to gather together.  We needed the Word.  We needed to see each other and remember the larger story that this recent violence could not dim.

We needed to be church.

On the docket for the morning was precisely what our hearts longed for:  our children up front, in a place where we could sing their beauty with our eyes.  They were sharing the annual pageant; the telling of the time when a holy – as all children are – child was born into astounding vulnerability.

There were singing angels and wrestling shepherds and sheep with pink tights and a Mary and baby Jesus with matching red hair and a proudly sentinel Joseph and there were in the sanctuary people with their hearts bruised, open, and hungry for hope.

The children were our ministers.

There is unfathomable pain in this world, this we know.  The quiet desperation lived by too many erupts in innocence-crushing ways.  We wonder at such times if there is any Balm in Gilead powerful enough to be antidote.  Because we are willing to summon the courage to be open to all that life has to offer us, we are bound, one to the other, in the ache provoked by unspeakable violence.

As a people who seek to follow the teachings of a babe born in a manger who dared to call us to love, we were reminded by the children that there is more to the story than executions.

There is resurrection; resurrection practiced in hugs and tears and gathering and remembering and choosing to live in such a way that maybe, just maybe, we will practice love in the living of our days.

On Sunday we were reminded that angels sing yet.  In the swirl of pain, angels sing yet.

Led by our children, we could remember.





Today Minnesota United Methodists voted to speak publicly against the marriage amendment coming before voters in November.

This is no small thing.

We join the ranks of Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ in Minnesota; all have voted to speak out against this attempt to legislate oppression.

What makes this decision poignant is that unlike the above named denominations, our denomination corporately holds a stance on homosexuality much like that of the Catholic Church.  Many of us work hard on seeking change in that regard.

For the MN Annual Conference to overwhelmingly support public opposition to legislative oppression means that we claimed our call to advocate for justice.

I am a hope filled woman.  I am moved by the witness and advocacy that has taken place for decades in order for this church I love to step out and speak out.  I am aware of the work yet to be done and the wounds yet real.

But today.  On June 1st in St Cloud Minnesota, United Methodists spoke their hearts.

And I do believe we are a changed people.

Thanks be to God.