Lighting the Way: Unrevealed Joy
There have been more than a few days lately where I just want to stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head. But the comfort I'm seeking in the cotton and down-filled world of my making eludes me. I can't escape my own fear. What I see and hear is colored by stark images of a world that no longer makes sense and clashes, often violently, with my values of justice, equality, respect, and compassion.
As I reluctantly throw back the covers and expose my fears to the light, I rub the grit from my eyes and stretch my arms over my head seeking to, again, find the "unrevealed joy" of my faith. It doesn't suddenly appear like the brightly wrapped presents under the glowing Christmas tree of my childhood. No, it's much more like rubbing away the steam from a bathroom mirror -- I have to do it again, and again, and the images are slow to come into focus. One more swipe with the towel . . . there it is!
It's not hard to imagine that John the Baptist, huddled in his jail cell, was at times imprisoned by his own fears: "What happened? I was on a mission from God...where is the One that we seek to light the way? Was I wrong? When will the 'Joy' be revealed, if ever?"
The Light comes to John, not in the form of a simple "yes" or "no" to his question: "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" But in Jesus' frequent mode of avoiding the direct response; he invites John to "see" and "hear," and further invites us to escape the chains of fear that tether our unrevealed joy.
"Jesus answered them, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them" (Matthew 11:4-5).
There is joy to be revealed when we hold our fears up to the light of our faith. While the horrific images of hate that were chalked on the sidewalk outside our church in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, can tempt us to want to retreat under the covers and allow our fears to run roughshod over our faith, we, too, are called to "see" and "hear." We can choose to see and hear the symbols of hate that were replaced by colorful images of unicorns and rainbows -- a child comes and reminds us that through her fanciful pictures and symbol of our faith that love always wins.
Photo by Rev. Elder Dr. Candace Shultis
Our prayer is that we will take time this Advent Season to "see" and "hear" the signs of our faith that bring us joy. Let us throw back the covers, straighten our bed-head, wipe the foggy mirrors, and light the way for others by following the example of the Child.
by Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
on behalf of the
Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, Convener
Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
Professor Elder Nancy G. Maxwell
Rev. Elder Dr. Candace R. Shultis
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD
Following the example of Jesus, New Creation MCC is a living model of acceptance and welcome, built on faith instead of fear; hope instead of judgment, love instead of rejection.
Just type newcreationmcc.org in your phone or tablet.
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