Beloved St. John’s community,
Our staff meets every week, even during the pandemic over zoom, to connect with each other, pray, listen to God and each other, and support each other. During this meeting we always do a practice called “Gospel Based Discipleship” – which is an imaginative way to listen to scripture and share what comes up for us. This week, we listened to what is traditionally known as the “Magnificat” – Mary’s song of exultation and faith when she shares with her relative Elizabeth the news of her pregnancy and the child to come who has been so very blessed. Pondering this scripture, our Children, Youth & Family Minister Heather Miller remarked that she loves this time of year because this is a story that kids really “get.” And not only do they “get” it, but it rocks their world. When Heather helps them understand who the equivalent of Mary would be in today’s world — a young teenaged girl in a poor family – and what that means about our God and our faith, she says that she can watch the wheels turning in them, that it blows their minds, and that she looks forward every year to seeing this happen.
And it is time, every year, for all of us to reclaim the wonder and curiosity and fresh minds of children, because it will never cease to amaze that God in Christ is truly one who turns things upside down. The ones without power—peasant teenaged girls, shepherds in the fields, elderly barren women, strange immigrant astrologers– are the ones in the center of God’s compassion and concern. The ones without education or wisdom or strength as the world measures these things are the ones God sends to do God’s holy work of healing the world.
What could this mean for all of us?
This week, I invite you to stop everything, no matter how long your to-do list is, and look for a child somewhere in your extended networks. Just try to become present to the world as they see it. Enter into their world, on their terms. Don’t try to teach them. Let them teach you. You can even do this briefly over zoom, believe me: I’ve done it. Imagine that God is seeking to express God’s overwhelming love of you, delight in you. Imagine that you DON’T need to have all the answers, in fact it’s most likely better if you don’t. Imagine that you simply release into the current of something far greater than you—the current of God’s Spirit which was the wind that blew life into creation. The Spirit whose impact is generative, even for young peasant teenage girls, even for post-menopausal women like Elizabeth, always and everywhere for life.
In one week, it will be Christmas Eve. In the time between now and then, please seek, at every moment, to see the world with utterly brand new eyes. Seek to be ready to recognize Jesus—the presence of God—all around you. May you experience joy and wonder.
Faithfully, in Christ’s love,