November 24, 2016
Healing, Grace, and Peace to the brothers and sisters in La Grange and beyond, from Carly, called to be the prophet, teacher, and healer among and along side you.
This week I share with you the Word from Molly Baskette, my friend and author of Real Good Church. Her words are poignant for this time.
The Word became Flesh and made a dwelling among us.
Now you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it. ~I Corinthians 12
It has been 10 days since the Presidential Election of 2016 as I write this. Begging pardon of those who voted differently from me, whose choices were vindicated last Tuesday-all too many of the people I know are heartsick and afraid.
We fear, under the new administration, the increased vulnerability and morbidity of people who were called out by stereotypes and hatred in President-Elect Trump's campaign: immigrants, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinx, LGBTQ folk, women and disabled folk.
Those of us who fit one or more of the above categories, or love people who do, are carrying the stress of what is and what may be in our bodies. It is taking the form of depression, hypertension, adrenaline storms, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares.
We feel the ache in our bodies, but we also feel it in the great body of our nation. There has been a massive increase in hate crimes reported. There are those surprised by the election results who say "how could I have been so wrong about so many of my neighbors?" There are those unsurprised by the results who say "I knew all along this terror lived in our shadow. Now the veil has been pulled back. But it's still horrifying to see it in the clear light of day."
And some of us feel the rift personally: in our marriages, in the families we will face around the holiday meal, in friendships now severed.
How do we go on?
Advent and Christmas embody two very different messages. Advent is about the tension of waiting for a world we cannot quite see, the vigilant insomnia as we anticipate the fullness of God's reign.
Christmas is about the reality that God is present with us in all times and circumstances--deeply enfleshed in the matter of the world--and reminds us that God's strength actually lies in vulnerability, in the courageous act of taking on a human body, in coming to us as an infant, in being willing to suffer all that we suffer, so God can likewise experience all the joys of being human.
Most of the joy and most of the sorrow that can be had in life is traceable back to having a body. It is because we have bodies that we can smell apple pie baking, eat a perfectly seasoned meal, share abundant hugs. And it is because we have a body that we fear being beaten, going hungry, getting cancer, and someday: losing people we love to death, then dying ourselves.
How do we make peace with the body: with our aches and pains, our limitations and dis/abilities, our aging, the threats against our well-being?
How do we use our bodies, in this deeply divided time, to make peace, make hope, make joy, make good?
This Advent, let this calendar invite you to make peace with the body. Let it remind you that your body is a temple of God, a place where God has chosen to dwell. Too often we criticize our bodies for what they are not: perfect. We scoff at the shape of our bellies or the length of the neck. We see only the parts and not the whole. Let Advent re-member those parts, as you love the whole thing. Practice radical self-care and renewal.
Let Advent re-member the other bodies of which you are a part: your primary relationships, your church, your country. Let it not be a false peace you reach for, a kind of Stockholm-syndrome capitulation to evil, but an embodied showing-up for what is right and good, a refusal to abdicate, a willingness to claim your place in the larger bodies that need you functioning at a high level.
There is a prompt for December 6--incidentally, St. Nicholas Day, patron saint of the poor--to intervene if you see someone being mistreated. In these shadowed days, let this prompt guide you every day to be a person of courage and principle, to break the code that says "don't get involved," because you understand that we deeply belong to one another, and we will have to answer for our silence.
Remember that you--and everybody else you know--is stardust. In your cells lies the most ancient energy of the universe, and those cells have been brought together at this moment, in this time, in this body, for a specific and holy purpose. Will you accept the call, to make peace with your body?
Holy Advent, Blessed Christmas