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Lindsay’s Loop

Lindsay’s Loop Feb 2018

Where do we see Jesus in our world?

As we move from Epiphany into Lent (which begins on Valentine’s Day this year), we keep our eyes open to see where Jesus is in our world and in our lives.

This past month I have been focusing on noticing the presence of God. One of the ways I’ve done it is by pausing in my day to ask, ―what does God look like here, right now?‖

On a day when I was exhausted and preparing dinner—overwhelmed at how messy the house was and not wanting to cook or clean or do anything, really—I imagined God as an overwhelmed woman perching on a stool in my kitchen, right there in the middle of the mess with me.

As I’ve watched the news about children brought here by immigrant parents, and heard vitriolic debates, I’ve seen God looking like a Latina high school student who’s working hard at all the things American high school students do to prepare for a better life. I’ve seen God looking like a Puerto Rican father in the harsh Dedham winter, and I’ve seen God looking like a soccer mom dropping off clothes and food and Charlie Cards.

One day in Sunday school, God looked like one of our young children praying, “I hope when people are sick others will not run away.”

God takes on flesh, and lives among us, and is found especially on the margins of our society.

This Lent, we’ll turn our focus to Jesus. In our worship and in our Sunday school, we’ll hear again some of the treasured stories from Jesus’ ministry. We’ll hear about his baptism and the ways he healed people; we’ll hear about how he challenged the people in power and how he ate dinner with outcasts. We’ll hear how he was so faithful to God—and so faithful in challenging the deal-dealing ways of this world—that it got him killed.

As we come to see Jesus better in the world he lived in, we’ll get better at seeing where Jesus is in our world. What is Jesus calling us to? What faces is Jesus taking on today? If we are truly following Jesus, where will we go, and who will go with us?

As in many years past, there will be weekly meetings throughout Lent to pray and talk together, and Bible readings and a book to read throughout the week. We’ll join with our friends at the Stratford Street United Church; Cheryl will lead a group here at the Allin Church on Tuesdays from 9:15-10:15 , and I’ll lead a group at SSUC on Thursdays from 7-8.

We’ll spend time each week contemplating the gospel stories for the coming Sunday—seeing what we notice about how Jesus is acting, what he’s saying, who’s around him, and imagining where we might see ourselves in the texts.

We’ll also read through Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited. This book is a classic, and the author was a brilliant theologian and devotional thinker; he was also a mentor to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It helps us to understand the ways Jesus stood with those at the margins. Even though it was written 70 years ago, his words have so much hope to speak to us. The back cover of the book says this: “For although scorned and forced to live outside society, Jesus advocated a love of self and others that defeats fear and the hatred that decays our souls and the world around us….Thurman’s work reached past anger and distrust toward a vision of unity.”‖ Let me know if you want me to get you a copy.

My prayer is that we would all see Jesus more clearly in our world, and hear more clearly how he is calling us to act.

With you in the Love of Christ,

Lindsay

January 2018 Lindsay’s Loop

The light is slowly coming back into the world. I mean this literally: each day we’re getting a couple more minutes of daylight. As soon as Daylight Saving Time ends in October, I count the days to the winter solstice, when the days begin getting longer again.

Of course, it works well with our Christian calendar (at least in the Northern Hemisphere—if we were in New Zealand it’d be the bright middle of summer right now). We are celebrating the birth of Jesus, “the light of the world.” And so, in the days after he was born into our world, the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later, and our days get brighter, little by little.

This month, on January 6, we celebrate Epiphany. It’s the day we remember the magi coming to Jesus. The magi weren’t “3 kings” (even though we love singing that song!) They also weren’t Jews—the Jews had been expecting a Messiah to come, and had been reading the Hebrew prophecies. The magi were just people who were drawn by a mysterious light. They saw a star in the sky and they followed it, not sure what they were going to find.

Epiphany is when we celebrate “the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles”—the good news of God-with-us coming to all people, not just the Jewish people (“Gentiles” is the Bible’s word for “people who are not Jewish”). So on this day, and in this time of more-light-every-day, we remember the Light being revealed to all people.

There is Light in the world, and we are drawn to it.

This is our work, as Christians, to see the Light and be drawn towards it.

Where do you see Light in your life right now? Where do you see Light in our broken and dark world? Where is the Light coming into your family or your workplace or your neighborhood? Where is the Light coming into your own tender heart?

We need to search out the Light, and move towards it.

And then we need to share it. How can we share God’s Light in the year ahead?

We can continue to open this church to all people. We can see and celebrate the Light we see in this place and we can tell people about it—“here is a place where I can feel something holy and sacred,” “here is a place where people love me even though I’m kind of a mess,” “here is a place where I get to do work and service that makes me feel like I’m connected to people, like I matter.”

We can share God’s Light by celebrating the differences among us—celebrating the noisy and lively children that are part of our church family, celebrating the people who believe differently than we do and act differently than we do. We can share God’s Light by continuing to be family to each other in this place, even (especially!) when it’s difficult, and when our rough edges meet up against someone else’s tenderness.

There is so much light in this church, friends. This is a place where God meets us, and shows us that the Light is indeed coming into this broken world, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

If you’re having a hard time seeing the Light in this world, keep coming to church, and keep looking for it, and ask people to help you see it, or ask people to sit with you in the darkness.

This is our work this month and this year: to notice the light (like the magi did) and to move towards it. We’re on this journey together.

With you in the Light (and the darkness),

Lindsay