Advent 2016: Even here

Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Galatians 3:23-29

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

I was raised in the church. A church encumbered by patriarchy. A church where women were (and mostly still are) second class citizens, held in place by a couple of scriptures that are misused, misread, and deeply misunderstood. A church tradition steeped in rhetoric and shame, rather than love and freedom.

And even so, there I learned to love God.

I was born into a family with rampant dysfunction. We were bright and shiny on the outside and troubled behind closed doors. I knew more about the things I could do that would send me to hell than I did about the things I should do to show love for others. And I learned early to lay low. Fly under the radar. Plan my escape.

And even so, there I learned to love God.

I’ve spent my career working with some amazing people, learning how to do some amazing things. We have made money together, built products, and had a few drinks along the way. I have also watched horrible people be propped up by faulty systems and structures because fear was bigger than values, morals, and ethics. I’ve watched as entire teams of people have bowed down to one or two bad humans and I’ve watched those same teams try to smooth the way for one another and those with less skill to manage hurt and pain.

And even so, there I learned to love God.

Today I find myself in a world where an evil, greedy, asshat who hates anyone who is not white, male, and rich was elected into office primarily by people he hates (women, poor people, people who believe in God). This is a world where genocide is still acceptable as long as our oil supply isn’t impacted (I see you Syria, Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo, Turkey, Burundi, Yemen). A world where guns are available for madmen to use to shoot up a school full of innocent children (Rest in Peace Children of Sandyhook–4 years). A world driven by fear and a belief that there is not enough for me and mine so I must take from you and yours.

And even so, here…in this place…in this time…I am learning to love God.

Turn us again to yourself, O God.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved. (Psalm 80: 3)

This is what the joy of the Lord looks like for me. That in the midst of pain, we seek God and God makes herself findable. That in the ugliest places, hope still exists. That in the places where we are most likely to experience pain, God shows up and makes his face shine down on us.

Joy gives us laughter on the hard days, kindness in the meanest times, and hope that tomorrow the sun will rise.

I ask for the restoration of laughter, kindness and hope in places like Aleppo, in Sandy Hook, in those fearful of this president, for those who’ve been the victims of bullies at work, for all who have felt unacceptable because of gender, race, ability, religious, who they love, how much money they have, or where they were born.

Restore our Joy.


2 thoughts on “Advent 2016: Even here

  1. My dear friend, you had me at Day 1 Advent. So much so that I couldn’t read the rest until today. Today I’m struggling with hopelessness, joylessness, and their cousin listlessness. My faith is usually unshakable but today it feels not just shaky but absent. So I turned to your Advent entries, and I feel supported through these thoughts and emotions but relieved you’re doing the work so I don’t have to. One thing I will do today is simply see God. I will see her next to me, and that will be enough. Thank you that I feel you on the other side. Your writing does that. Xoxox

    1. Seasons my friend. We all go through seasons. Keep doing the hard work of showing up in the world. I’ll keep trying to write and we’ll all keep trying to be our best selves in this crazy world. xoxo

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