Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22, 2011

How long does it take to decorate a Christmas tree? Half an hour, I guess, if you pop it out of a box. Longer if you bring it into the living room and secure it in a tree stand. Much, much longer when you linger over the ornaments.

There’s a sapphire sequined bird I love to place on our tree: it was a gift from my best friend, and though it’s missing an eye, it is still beautiful. In my mind that eye is replaced with all the places we’ve been together, long walks taken, cups of tea consumed, stories and truths spoken. That eye is a lifetime of vision.

What do you see on the Christmas tree near you?

What the shepherds saw astounded them and everyone they told:

They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed.

The Light in our darkness shines into the future. God gives us a vision and the eyes of faith to see it. 

 ‘Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’

Blessings on you, as you see that which is familiar through eyes of love. Blessings on you, as you peer at that which is new, and trust the Light to shimmer on it. Blessings on you, as you gaze at our beautiful and troubled world and bring your love to it.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011

People say that the pace of life is frighteningly quick, and that we can’t keep up with technology. They say that as we age, time runs faster. Time is money, they say.

There certainly is lots of chaos around us: climate talks in Durban that didn’t solve our problems, changes in our families and households, a European economy infringing on our stability, icy streets in our neighbourhoods. Sometimes it seems that important things are slip sliding away, as Paul Simon sings.

Is it a brave new world? Or maybe we are called to live bravely in a chaotic new world.

Where do we find courage to live bravely in a chaotic new world? We look outside ourselves. Courage comes from a transcendent place, from a spirit of love and compassion and truth. Mary sang about chaos and the Promise:

God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 
he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and sent the rich away empty.

We say with Mary, this is God’s world and we have the privilege of being part of it. We say with Mary, every person counts and no one will be left behind. We say with Mary, this may seem impossible but it is our Promise.

Blessings on you, as you live bravely in a chaotic new world. May the Promise bring you courage. May there be a song of faith in your heart.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1, 2011

We’re coming up to Christmas and all the festivities we expect. Perhaps there are new things in your life and this year will be different. Maybe you are anticipating traditional events.

For many it is a time to reflect on family. Through Sundays in November we read the stories of Ruth from the Old Testament. She is famous for leaving her homeland, saying to her mother-in-law:

Do not press me to leave you

   or to turn back from following you!

Where you go, I will go;

   where you lodge, I will lodge;

your people shall be my people,

   and your God my God.

Where you die, I will die - there will I be buried.

It is a marvelous expression of commitment. Ruth was an outsider, a woman from a hostile country, and had nothing to offer but herself. 

Did you know that Ruth was an ancestor of Jesus? So it is that Jesus came from a family that had a tradition of welcoming the outsider.

Do you suppose that means we as Christians inherit that tradition of welcoming the outsider? Indeed. And truly, the best we can offer to each other is ourselves: in hope, peace, joy and love. Our true selves are reflections of our deepest gift, the gift God makes in Jesus. 

Blessings on you, as you look forward to the festivities of Christmas, and welcome the outsiders around you with the gift of your truest self.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean