It’s Personal

Preached on Christmas at St. John Episcopal Church in Snohomish, Washington
Christmas,  Year A

Why does Christmas matter to you?
What brings you to church on a dark winter night?
Because it’s what your family does?
Because your parents insist?  But why do you think they do?
There are many possibilities and tonight I’ll talk about one of them.

I suggest that we come together to remember the story.  It’s a story that gives meaning to many of the other strange things we do at this time of year – like cutting down trees, bringing them in the house and hanging things on the branches.  Or stranger still, making artificial trees to put in the house and decorating them.  Like giving gifts to people we never meet.  Like hanging stockings that no one would or could ever wear and expecting something to happen to them overnight!

Even if we didn’t do all those things or any of them, we tell the story over and over again, every year, not just to remember Jesus’ birth but also in order to be reminded of who we are in God’s sight; who we are in God’s heart.  So let’s look at the story.

Luke tells a story about God.  He starts by setting the stage; telling us about the world.  Rome rules.  This is a story about Empire and Power.  Augustus is the most powerful, important man in the world at that time.  And he compels the people to travel, to be registered, so they can be taxed.

With that backdrop, he quickly shifts our focus to the other end of the spectrum of power; to Mary and Joseph and to some shepherds and the unremarkable birth of a baby.Now these folks don’t have much money or power or influence.  They don’t even have very much control over their own lives.  They live under foreign occupation.  They do as they’re told.

Mary and Joseph would not choose to travel when she is so close to delivery, but they must; the emperor compels them. The shepherds care for sheep that belong to another on land they don’t own.

Then there are the angel, God’s messenger, and the heavenly host.  The angel announces to shepherds of all people.  This is good news for their lives.  A baby has been born nearby; a very special baby he is for you, the angel tells the shepherds, a Savior, the Messiah, Lord.

The angel gives them a sign so they can check it out.  We’ve talked about this before.  When they see the sign, they’ll know that what the messenger says is true, that it’s a message from God.  The sign is a baby wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.

Something compels the shepherds to go; to leave their fields and their flocks; to see for themselves.  Maybe it was the hope in the message or maybe it was the heavenly chorus showing up.  But something propelled them toward that stable in Bethlehem.  And there they found exactly what the angel had said.  The message was true!

We keep this story alive not because of that baby 2000 years ago, but because of what it means for our lives now. God in Jesus is born into the messiness of our lives.  Born in the messiness of a stable, a long way from home; at an inconvenient time and place to unlikely people.

Do you ever try to get everything perfect?  You know, the whole house clean at the same time; everything in the garage perfectly organized and in its place; no weeds in the yard.  Or maybe you try to find the perfect Christmas tree and decorations, the perfect gift or dinner or date or marriage proposal.  If I just had the right job or a perfect body… okay, the list could go on all night.  If we could just get that perfect, life would be good.

Jesus doesn’t wait for us to clean up our act and get it perfect or right.  Instead, Jesus joins us in the messiness and brokenness of our lives; of our world – not to fix it or make it perfect, but because we matter to God; because you matter to God.

That’s what this story tells us – reminds us.

There are lots of lofty claims made about Jesus and the meaning of Christmas and yes, I’m going to offer one, but when it comes down to it, the Christmas story is very intimate and its significance is personal.

So here’s the lofty claim.
In Jesus, God embraces our humanity, our humanness, our bodies and our messiness.  In Jesus, God gives dignity to all of human life, not just the “important” people but people who are poor or who have lousy jobs or no jobs, people who have nowhere to live, people without power or money or influence, people with messy, broken lives.  NO one is excluded; all have dignity.

The story we tell on Christmas reminds us that God enters our humanity and declares that we have worth to God and are deeply loved.  We are created in love, for love.  Because love has to keep moving, we are created to receive God’s love and then to pour God’s love out to the world.  And so, we do things like giving gifts to strangers.

So, that’s my suggestion – We retell the story because it reminds us who we are in God’s eyes – people with dignity and of profound worth –  and who we are in God’s heart – loved beyond measure.

In the end, though, the Christmas story is intimate; it’s deeply personal.
What does it say to your soul?

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this

Preached on 18 December 2016 at St. John Episcopal Church, Snohomish, Washington
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A
Psalm 80: 1-7, 16-18  Isaiah 7:10-16Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Now I don’t know what first century couples did in anticipation of their weddings.  I mean they weren’t going to Macy’s to pick out china patterns.  But I’m sure they didn’t expect this.  Not just an unplanned pregnancy, but an inexplicable one.

Imagine what it may have been like for each of them.
Mary is barely mentioned, but what about her?  It says she was found to be with child.  How?

Matthew tells the story differently from Luke.  We tend to combine the two stories in our minds and in our pageants and crèches, but for now, let’s keep them separate.

In Matthew’s gospel, the angel appears to Joseph, not to Mary, and he only shows up after she’s already pregnant and both families know it.  So, I wonder how long it is before she realizes that’s what’s happening; that she’s with child?  When she experiences the early signs of pregnancy, nausea, fatigue, a missed period or two or three, that certainly wouldn’t even cross her mind.

Imagine the conversations she had with her mom.  She’s wondering what’s wrong?  Is she ill?  Could she be barren?  That would almost be a worse fate.  When they settle on “pregnant” as the diagnosis, imagine the distrust and the sense of betrayal she must have felt when her own family, most likely, doesn’t believe her and accuses her of lying

Distrust, betrayal, shame, this story is filled with pain and heartbreak.  Mary’s father would have to tell Joseph and his family.  Imagine all the shame and betrayal Joseph felt.  We see a glimpse of his inner struggle.  There really is no way for him to avoid shame.  As soon as word gets out, he will be shamed because his wife has been unfaithful.

And just as Joseph decides what to do, God finally shows up and sends an angel, a messenger to tell him not only to marry her, but to claim her son as his own by naming him.  In that culture, to give someone a name was to claim “ownership” so to speak.

This angel makes no marvelous claims about titles and thrones for the child; simply that the child is from the Holy Spirit and will save his people from their sins.

Wow!  What a way to start a marriage.  And it will get even more strange and more tense as it goes on; as we will hear over the next few weeks.

Life rarely goes according to plan and it certainly didn’t for Mary and Joseph.  But they did what most of us do – they did their best to adjust and continue on.

Now Matthew tells us about Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus, not so we get to know Jesus’ parents.  No this is a story about God.
God shows up in a dream (at least God’s angel does) to save their marriage, yes.  More importantly, though, this is about God showing up in the world in the lives of ordinary people; God showing up as an ordinary person; God showing up in such an extraordinarily ordinary way, to save the people – all people.

Matthew tells his story to an ancient Jewish audience in such a way that they will understand it clearly.  They’re familiar with the stories from their Bible; from the Torah, from the prophets.
Matthew begins by tracing the genealogy of Jesus:
14 generations from Abraham to King David
14 generations from David to the exile in Babylon
14 generations from the exile to Jesus, son of Mary, wife of Joseph of the line of David.
He names key figures from their scriptures, from their history.  Throughout the gospel, he repeats the formula as we heard today, “this was to fulfill the word spoken through the prophet” and then he quotes the Hebrew Bible.

He tells his story to convince his audience and to place Jesus squarely within their history, their lineage, and in the tradition of the prophets.  He tells of an extraordinary birth in line with the tradition of the cultures around them to convince them that Jesus is in fact the Messiah, the chosen one of God, the Savior.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, no the Incarnation – the coming of God into the world in an extraordinarily ordinary way, ask yourself some questions:

How do you respond when “it wasn’t supposed to be like this…?”
How does God show up?
Do you find God in unlikely people and places?

Matthew writes this story to convince his audience.  What convinces you that Jesus is who you think he is?

The angel tells Joseph that Jesus will save the people from their sins,
What is the salvation you seek from Jesus?

Ponder these questions in your heart over the coming week.  Meditate on them, maybe, pray them.  See what happens when we celebrate Jesus coming into the world at Christmas.

How do you know it’s true?

Preached on 11 December 2016 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Snohomish, Washington
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A
Canticle 15  Isaiah 35:1-10;  James 5:7-10Matthew 11:2-11

How do you know it’s true?  What you think; what you’ve heard; what your senses or your intuition or your perceptions and experience seem to tell you.  How can you tell what’s true?

Well, first we question it; we check it out; we verify using credible sources.  Having a background in engineering and science, I have a lot of faith in the Scientific Method – especially when checking out questions involving science and technology.  In science, we test our hypotheses and adjust the hypothesis when the data won’t support it.  And we test it over and over from many different angles.  Other scientists review the study and still other scientists test it again before it ever becomes a theory.

In journalism, there are best practices that include the requirement to verify information using multiple independent sources.  Other fields have their own “best practices” for assuring accuracy.  We can check them out by seeing if they actually follow accepted best practices for their field.  How are they viewed by their professional peers?  When they err, do they retract and correct the error?

But what about when it comes to God?  How do we know that something is from God?  Now I hesitate to personify evil, but evil is pretty good at disguising itself as “good” or “almost good.”  One of Satan’s tools is to sow seeds of doubt in ourselves, in that which we can trust, and push us to trust the false prophet.

And so, when it comes to God, we have discernment of the spirits and theological reflection.  We discern in community what is from God and what is not.  We don’t do it alone.  What do Scripture and Tradition have to say about it, remembering that sometimes God does something new?  We judge by the fruits; what are the results or consequences?  And then afterwards, we reflect on the experience.  What is God showing us through this experience or what is God calling us to do next?

Now look at John the Baptist in today’s gospel.  What a difference a week makes!  Last week we heard him preaching in the wilderness.  He was on fire.  He had an audience and followers and a message.  Repent, be baptized, Prepare the way for the One who is to come, One who is greater; One who will judge the earth.

This week, he’s alone, locked up in prison.  Now he seems unsure of himself.  He’s reflecting – had he been wrong about Jesus?  Is he in prison because he displeased God?  Or because he got it right and the authorities didn’t like the truth?  And so, he checks it out.

Before we go on, I’d like to recall for you the whole arc of John’s story in Matthew.  In chapter 3, John is proclaiming in the wilderness – Repent, prepare the way of the Lord. He baptizes Jesus who then goes into the desert to be tested.  In chapter 4, when Jesus comes out of the desert, he learns that John has been arrested for challenging King Herod; saying he shouldn’t have married his brother’s wife.

Then in chapter 11, what we heard today, John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the One.  And finally in chapter 14, he is beheaded at the request of Herod’s stepdaughter.

So, today John is checking it out.  He sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One?”  He’s wondering, perhaps, “Did I get it wrong?  Why am I in prison?  Or maybe he wants his followers to be assured.  He sends them to get it right from the source.

And Jesus says, see for yourself.  Tell John what you have seen me do.  The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, and so forth.  He doesn’t expect them to believe simply because he says so.  And what does he offer as evidence?  He’s not claiming to be the One because he can do wonders, but because what he does refers back to signs given by God in Holy Scripture.

There are patterns in Scripture.  For example, God follows a pattern for Call.

God calls a person to a particular mission.
The person protests – “it can’t be” or “I can’t do it”  – I’m too young, I can’t speak plainly
God then reassures the person that they will have the gifts they need.
And finally, God gives them a sign so they can check it out; so that they will know that this message is indeed from God.

Remember what I said last week that the message of a prophet is for a particular people in a particular place and time, but that often, other people can also find a message of truth.  Isaiah’s message is for a people in exile in Babylon.  He’s assuring them that they will indeed return to their homeland and that God will save them.  He offers a vision where the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, and the speechless sing for joy.

Fast forward to Jesus.  He is making that vision a reality.  He points to his deeds and describes them quoting Isaiah to assure John and his followers that John got it right.  He is the One.  Not because he claims it, but because of the fruits – what he’s doing and how that benefits people.  Because of the sign given by God so that they would know.

As John experienced and we have seen in Jesus, sometimes speaking Truth can get you in trouble.

So, what do we learn from this?

If even God can be questioned and encourages us to check God out, there is no power or person or message that is exempt from challenge or verification.  By the same token, we have a responsibility to follow through; to check for credibility and responsibility.  We have tools from a multitude of fields.

We can look for the fruits – does it advance justice? Help the poor, the needy, the vulnerable?  Do the blind see and the lame walk, so to speak?  We ask ourselves, “What if I’m wrong?”

It’s not easy.  It’s hard work, in fact, but necessary work and really, it’s our responsibility as Christians.  To seek the Truth and ultimately to set our hearts on it and when appropriate, to take action.  Otherwise, we’re lost; paralyzed by fear and despair.  If we’re wrong and it’s not of God, as long as we remain open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, we can trust God to correct us.

As Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

May our lives in Christ, too, always bend toward justice and truth.

Reality Check

Preached on December 4th 2016 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Snohomish, Washington
The Second Sunday of Advent, Year A

It’s the second Sunday of Advent so we hear from John the Baptist

Now one thing to keep in mind about prophets.  They aren’t soothsayers who foretell the future using some kind of crystal ball.  No, they are truth-tellers to the present.  A prophet sees and calls attention to the truth of the situation at hand.  They speak to a particular people in a particular context.

Another thing to keep in mind about prophets is that while their message is for a specific context, if we listen carefully, and pay attention, we can usually find a word of truth relevant to our own context.  So, let’s take look at John.

Where is he and who is his audience?  He doesn’t preach at the Temple where you might expect a prophet to go; or in the town square where the people congregate.  Or in the court of the king or ruler, where we often find prophets speaking Truth to Power.

No, John goes out to the Wilderness – away from the city, away from the centers of power.  The people have to go to him to hear his words.

And his audience appears to be the outcasts and sinners.  People who have no power or influence.  People who may even be blamed for the Roman occupation.
His message?  God has not forgotten you.  You can change your life and be forgiven.

And the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the righteous ones?  He calls them snakes and accuses them of being insincere in their repentance.  Bear fruit worthy of repentance he tells them.

How is John’s message relevant to our context?  How can we connect to this story?  Can you place yourself in the scene?  The outcasts and sinners?  The pharisees?  Maybe you identify with John.  What words of truth does he have for us?

Repent, for the kingdom of God has come near.

Repent.  It means more than saying I’m sorry.  Or even I’m sorry and I won’t do it again.
It’s not about regretting making a bad choice.  It’s more than turning around or taking a different path.

Repentance is metanoia, it’s a transformation of your mind and your way of thinking.  John is calling us to wake up, look around, and see what we’ve been missing!

See the world with new eyes, hear our neighbor with new ears.  Who is hurting?  Listen to their voices; voices that may have been silenced.  We may find that how we understand the world and how we relate to the world is transformed.

You see, the first step in repentance is self-examination; to take stock of the reality of our world.  To see the reality of our own participation and complicity in the suffering of other people and the degradation of nature.

Our weekly confession of sin helps us with that exercise.  After a while, though, the words of our liturgy can become so familiar that we don’t really pay attention to them.  So, for the next several weeks, we’ll be using a confession of sin from one of the liturgical supplements to the Book of Common Prayer.

The first thing I want you to notice about our Sunday morning confession is that it is in the plural.  We confess.  It is not about our individual sins but about corporate sin.

The second thing I’ll draw your attention to is that the way this confession describes our sin is different.
We oppose God’s will.  We deny God’s goodness in ourselves, in each other, and in the world.
We repent of evil that enslaves us (that’s a rather strong word, isn’t it?), recognizing that we are also accountable for evil done on our behalf; evil from which we benefit.  That can be anything from police brutality or the killing of civilians by our soldiers or drones; to polluting the air and water; to people working in deplorable conditions so that we have inexpensive products to buy.  Often, we have no way of not participating; it enslaves us.

And finally, notice that we don’t confess just to say we’re sorry and to receive pardon.  We ask God to restore us and strengthen us.  We seek to be restored to a right relationship with God and with the world; to receive God’s grace to live transformed lives.

Right now, there are a lot of people experiencing pain and fear.  We haven’t been listening to each other.  As we begin to listen now, we can ask, “Are there unjust systems within our society that have played a part in their suffering?  Have we been complicit?  Have we been blind to them or deliberately ignorant?

I remember when I learned that most chocolate is made from cacao harvested by child slaves.  I cannot unknow that.  (And now neither can you.)  So, whenever I looked at chocolate after that, I had to confront that reality.  And I really love chocolate.  Would I buy it anyway?  Or would I look for fair trade chocolate?  Just an FYI, Seattle Chocolates are fair trade and it’s a local business owned by women.

Waking up and seeing the reality of the world around us (and of ourselves) is not just about looking for evil.  It’s also waking up and seeing the good in the world, the beauty, the love, the progress we have made in addressing suffering.

For example, yesterday, I watched a fascinating Ted Talk about maps; all kinds of different ways of mapping the world.  Many of them stretch or compress the “land” areas to reflect the population so that each person is represented by the same amount of space.  One that I found particularly interesting is the one that shows the light we emit at night.

At first glance you see clusters of bright light and you think, oh, those are the cities.  Except, no, the people are evenly distributed and the land without people is compressed out.  So, those bright areas represent people who have the resources and inclination to turn on a lot of light at night.  And there are other areas that are dark, where people either don’t have the resources or choose not to light the night sky.  Looking at how these maps change over time, he demonstrates that Tokyo, for example, has reduced its light emission.

He shows how the rate of population growth has drastically slowed.  Maps of the distribution of water and food show that we truly do have enough food and water for everyone.  Infant mortality rates are plummeting while the number of people having access to education are rising.  More and more people, especially women, are getting college degrees.

As we do our reality check, it’s important that we embrace and celebrate the good as well as repent of the evil.

The Good News is that God doesn’t leave us to repent on our own.  We don’t have to figure it out and do it all by ourselves.  Through the prophets – and our own imagination – God gives us a vision, like in our reading from Isaiah of the peaceable kingdom; not a goal to be achieved; we can’t make that happen – we’re not going to get lions to eat straw.  So not a goal to achieve,  but a dream by which to set a course.
God is here transforming our lives.
The kingdom of God is near, it is among us and in us.

Thanks be to God.

Longing for… a reflection

A reflection on the season of Advent
Offered on November 27th 2016 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Snohomish, Washington
The First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Today we begin a new year in the church calendar.
The season of Advent.
A season of preparation.
A season of anticipation; of expectant, hopeful waiting

At the 10 o’clock service we’re having a service of lessons and music for Advent where we’ll have a foretaste of the season to come.  We’ll hear the stories of Creation and Rebellion.  We’ll hear prophesies from Isaiah and Jeremiah and Micah.  Finally, we’ll hear the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist who will prepare the way of the Lord; of Jesus as Messiah.

We begin Advent every year remembering Jesus’ promise to come again.  In the coming weeks we’ll hear about John the Baptist and about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We’ll hear beautiful images in the prophecies of Isaiah.

Today, we hear Isaiah proclaim the end of war.  Nation will no longer lift sword against nation.  They will not learn war anymore.  The instruments of war and death shall be transformed into the instruments of life and peace; they will provide food for the people.  They are the tools of well-being.

There is a sense of longing in the lessons and throughout the whole season of Advent.  Longing for Messiah, yes, because of a longing, a yearning for a better world.

I think we can all relate to that.  It only takes a quick look around to see that we live in a broken world.  When you look around, what sort of world do you long for?  For what does your heart yearn?

We talk about Advent as a season of expectant waiting, but it’s not about sitting on our hands and waiting for Christ to come and fix it all.  It’s a time of preparation; of getting ready.  Often we focus on ourselves – what do we need to do to be ready for Christ to come?  But I think it’s also about preparing the way for Christ to come into the world; into the hearts of others.

How do we prepare the way?

Advent is during the darkest part of the year.  As the days and weeks progress, it gets darker; the nights grow longer.

I suggest we prepare for the light by facing the darkness of the world.  As you peer into that darkness, what does your heart yearn for for the world?

What breaks your heart?
Go there.  Allow your heart to break so that the light of Christ can come flooding in.

Walk in that light and carry it into the darkness.

Bring the light of Christ to those who dwell in that darkness.  Prepare the way of the Lord.

What kind of king do you want?

Preached on 20 November 2016 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Snohomish, Washington
Christ the King, Year C

The last couple of weeks have presented an intriguing confluence of current events, our place in the liturgical year, the lessons for today and American history – all swirling around a question asked in one of the commentaries I use:

What kind of king do you want?

Today, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.  As Americans, we have an odd relationship with royalty, with kingship, if you will.  On the one hand, many of us love the British royal family.  How many of you are “royal watchers?” or watch “Downton Abbey?”  Now I will grant you, the current monarchy is without very much power even in her own country.

On the other hand, we became a sovereign nation, as opposed to a bunch of colonies, through rebellion against our king.  In fact, against the very monarchy that we are now most fond of watching.  And following that rebellion, we had a hard time figuring out what to do instead.

What kind of king did we want?

Over the last year or so, we’ve been asked that same question again.  And just a couple of weeks ago, not even that long, we had the opportunity to make our voices heard, to make a choice.

The people in our Holy Scriptures had an uneasy time with kingship from early on.  They rejected God as their king and demanded a king like the other nations.  They were so sure that would be better.  God relented, but warned them that they would regret it.  They had quite a string of them.  A few were great.  Many were pretty awful.

We hear the prophet, Jeremiah, admonishing the kings and religious leaders of his day.  “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture,” he says.  The shepherds are the leaders.  They have responsibility for the well-being of God’s people, the sheep.  They have failed.  I daresay God could say the same to the shepherds of our day.

And then God promises to do it God’s self.  “I will raise up for David a righteous shoot, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.”  This kind of king is characterized by wisdom, justice, and righteousness.  He will bring salvation and safety to the people.

Most Christians take this to be a prophecy of the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.  Which brings us to the Canticle and the gospel.  They’re like bookends for the gospel of Luke.  Seems kind of fitting on this last Sunday in the Year of Luke; year C in the lectionary cycle.

The canticle is the Song of Zechariah.  Now you may recall that Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist.  And this was his song, his prayer, on the day of his son’s circumcision.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
Born of the house of his servant David.
… would save us from our enemies.

You my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins
In the tender compassion of our God
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness…
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Here is another image of a king.  Now we see forgiveness and freedom, light and peace along with salvation and safety.  This king is to be a “mighty savior.”  Can you hear the expectation of a conquering king?

And then we come to the gospel.
On this day when we celebrate Christ as King, the lectionary gives us the Passion.  The crucifixion of Jesus.  What kind of king is he?  The sign on the cross reads “The King of the Jews” in multiple languages.  This is not where anyone expects to find a king.  What’s he doing here?

  • He’s forgiving – even those who crucify him
  • He’s being mocked, humiliated by leaders, soldiers, even the guy on the cross next door.
  • He’s saving – today you will be with me in Paradise. Not tomorrow.  Not on the Day of the Lord.
  • He’s dying.

The cross isn’t a barrier to his ability to forgive and save.  It’s the place where it happens.

The criminal who was saved – his salvation was that Jesus saw his suffering and was willing to suffer with him.  It demonstrated opposition to empire and evil.

Rather than a king mighty in power, conquering evil with violence, one who merely rescues, on the cross, we see a king who is vulnerable, one who suffers with us in solidarity with all who suffer unjustly.

What kind of king do you want?  Today has offered an intriguing mix.  We elect our leaders, although we don’t call them king.  We proclaim that Christ will come again.  We pray, “thy kingdom come.”  But what kind of king do we want?  What kind of king do we expect?  What does God’s revelation seem to point to?

But really, the more important question is this,
What will you do in the meantime?

I’ll paraphrase Karoline Lewis, one of my favorite lectionary commentators.
She quotes Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets through.”
Then she goes on to say

Look for the crack and be the light of Christ that shines through it.
Be the light that exposes attempts to justify hatred, intolerance, and violence.
Be the light that allows us to truly see those who are ignored, overlooked, marginalized, disenfranchised, starving, used, abused, silenced.

Be the light that we so desperately need; a light that shines as a glimmer of hope for all people,
for all the world.