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DOUG MILLS | THE NEW YORK TIMES

God of the Turning,

On this day in which we watch the turning-
of one administration to the next,
a page filled with indecency, dishonesty,
corruption, and bigotry
to one that is yet to be written,
help us not be satisfied merely with
the turning of presidents.

Fill our hearts with the right measure of hope-
based not in myths of America’s greatness,
specific political parties,
particular leaders,
or even the breaking of ceilings. …


Written on January 6, 20201.
In the face of domestic terrorism at the Capitol.

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Photo: hoto: @EvyMages

God of Revelation,
on this day when we see
the violence of Empire
rage in halls of earthly power-
Scaling walls, destroying property,
seeding dissension, disregarding humanity-
Open our eyes clearly
to the life and way of Jesus,
that we might be freed from tyranny.

Help us to seek You, like the Magi-
unlikely worshippers
treading softly, persistently, curiously
onward
toward a realm in which
all living creatures are united to bow low,
before a King who lifts the humble, feeds the hungry,
and turns the world upside own. …


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“Those who walked in darkness”- © Jan Richardson Images

This year has been filled
with tension
-

Unrelenting see-saw
pushing us down, pulling us up
disrupting our equilibrium,
hurling illusions of status quo into the air
and shifting us-
back and forth
up and down,
this way and that

We’ve felt the weight of the losses:

The warmth of hugs,
a flash of teeth from a stranger’s smile
the intermingling of unlikely foods at a potluck,
collective release as weeping moves through a funeral,
the sound of “ohhhhhs” rippling through a live crowd,
friendships forged in classrooms, banter in the middle of meetings,
planned vacations, anniversary celebrations,
huddling around a birthday candle without fearing aerosols. …


What a year it’s been.

Obviously, 2020 has been a year that many of us will remember. With countless reminders of how “unprecedented” or “momentous” it has been, it’s safe to assume that our memories will be selective. We don’t have capacity to remember it all, and not all of us will remember the same events. Not all of us will have been impacted by the same things. Not all of us will feel the same emotions at the end of this year. And that’s okay.

For me, this year has been a year of embracing tension. I’ve been learning to live in the both-and realities of life. Grappling with the ways that life is not black and white, and acknowledging that things don’t always fit neatly into our categories and dichotomies. …


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2020 has felt like a lifetime.

So much has happened. So much of our society was in turmoil and chaos. So many of us experienced grief, loss, and heartache. So much of life was in a constant state of uncertainty and change.

While many of us feel ready for 2021, jumping into the new year expecting that everything will magically change and get better is unwise. …


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Witness of that Light- © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com

Our church has been exploring a series for Advent on “Jesus and the Community of Creation,” looking at some of the overlooked players in the birth story of Jesus. In the second week of Advent, we’ve been looking at the birth story from the perspective of the hay, and I wrote this poem as a reflection on its place in welcoming Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR THE HAY

What did it feel like to be a resting place for Jesus?
To follow Mary’s womb
as the second member of Creation
that hosted the Lord of hosts,
held his small, brown frame
freshly covered in blood, vernix, and lanugo?

Was his head disproportionately big-
as if the Mind of God were too vast
to be contained by human form
and would flop over if not supported by your
soft, foraged blooms? …


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“Mary’s Song” by Lauren Wright Pittman | © A Sanctified Art | sanctifiedart.org

What kind of God chooses the womb?

The Creator of the cosmos, Infinite being
entering our world in finitude
as a fetus, curled up inside a uterus.

The Maker of waters, and everything else
swimming in an amniotic sac,
growing limbs and making space
by doing flipturns on abdominal walls.

The Author of all time and space
contained- silently growing
day by day, week by week
with little display
besides a concealed bump on Mary’s body,
little jabs poking her ribs at night.

The Almighty God, holding the power of the universe,
choosing to be emptied of it-
to become small, vulnerable
taking on flesh, in all its glory and its limitation.

The Savior whose body and blood were broken for humanity,
tumbling out in a flurry of blood and water
from Mary’s own body-
broken so that the Son of God might take his first breath.

The great Parent of all humanity, born as a helpless child
The Giver of daily bread, nourished from human breastmilk
The God who does not need us, latching on in intimate dependence
to a poor, teenage girl from Nazareth
whose courage and faith made room for new life.

What kind of God is this?

A God who takes on flesh instead of condemning it
A God who honors women instead of shaming them
A God who chooses secrecy instead of spectacle
A God who expresses vulnerability instead of domination

Emmanuel.
God with us, not over us.
Word made Flesh. …


The season of Advent, which is my favorite time of the year, is almost upon us!

Coming from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming” or “arrival,” the season of Advent (a span of 4 weeks leading up to Christmas) is an intentional time to welcome the coming of Jesus- in all times, places, and situations.

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“Mary and Elizabeth” by Lauren Wright Pittman | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org

In a year full of grief, darkness, strife, and chaos, I am so thankful that the Church has a designated season for waiting in anticipation, hoping for rescue, and crying out for the light and life of Jesus to come into our weary world. …


TW: genocide, massacre, violence towards Indigenous peoples

Thanksgiving is a week away, and because of a global pandemic, the majority of Americans in this country (hopefully) will not be celebrating the holiday in their usual way- with holiday travel, big family gatherings, and endless feasts around a table together.

In a year of upheaval on every level of our society, it seems appropriate that Thanksgiving will not feel “normal” to many this year. …


It’s been a little over a week since Election Day, and the emotional roller coaster continues.

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Image from Tyrone Turner/WAMU

While many media outlets called the election on Saturday, and cities all across the U.S. (and even around the world) burst into spontaneous celebration and dancing, I have not been able to get the sinking feeling out of my stomach.

Many have talked about a “collective sigh of relief,” and yet somehow, I feel like I’m still holding my breath.

Maybe it’s my personality (I’m definitely a “glass half empty” person), maybe it’s my emotional numbness from this year, or maybe it’s the ongoing saga of Trump’s resistance to concede, but in this moment, I find myself struggling to locate my own emotions. Every feeling that I start to feel is immediately held in tension with its opposite pole. And in a year when our sense of normalcy has been eroded, I notice that even my feelings are uncertain. Uncommitted. …

About

Erina Kim-Eubanks

Co-Pastor @bethelcommunitysl | Director of Advocacy @fphayward | pastor, activist, writer | married to @eubanksme | co-author of @lentenlament | she/her

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