Sacred: A Season Set Apart

“The Word became flesh and made a home among us.” — John 1: 1-14

The Christmas season is a time when the juxtaposition of the sacred and secular feel sometimes blatantly opposed, and sometimes quite blurred. The word “sacred” points to something dedicated as “holy” and “set apart.” This year, we invite you to a spiritual journey of seeing all things pregnant with the possibility of the holy. What could your Christmas season experience be like if you lived it looking through the kaleidoscope of the sacred?

Sacred Time 12/1/19

“… you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep.” — Romans 13: 11-14 “In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, ‘Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!’” — Matthew 3: 1-12

The busy-ness of the holiday season can overrun the sense of the sacred. The irony is that setting apart time for connection to God gets pushed aside in order to create the trappings of what is supposed to be the season of celebrating the incarnation of the Holy! We will begin our Advent journey toward Christmas by emphasizing the gift of the “now”… the gift of sacred time given to God, to family and friends and to those in need of help.

Sacred People 12/8/19

“Many nations will go and say, ‘Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain, to the house of Jacob’s God so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in God’s paths.’” — Isaiah 2: 1-5 “Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.’” — Luke 1: 26-38“When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and Luke 1: 26-38“When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife.” — Matthew 1: 18-25

The stories of Mary and Joseph–two seemingly ordinary people–and their willingness to answer the call of God inspires us this week to see our own walk upon this earth as a call to be sacred people who usher in the presence of love. It also invites us to see others as sacred, full of the potential to be messengers in our lives.

Sacred Space 12/15/19

“The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. Happiness and joy will overwhelm them; grief and groaning will flee away.” — Isaiah 35: 1-10 “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” — Luke 1: 39-56

The pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary are connected with the promise of justice and joy in the readings this week. They are creating a space for the gestation of hope that can move into, and transform, the world. We will ponder the spaces we inhabit at home, work and community, asking whether they are feeding and nurturing the freedom and grace that is so desperately needed.

Sacred Knowing 12/22/19

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God rules!’” — Isaiah 52: 7-10 “The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.’” — Luke 2: 1-15

Honoring our own wisdom, our own deep knowing, is to acknowledge the work of the holy within us. The shepherds experienced a frightening moment that started out as disbelief and then turned into a deep knowing that they must make the journey–herd and all–to see the Prince of Peace. Like those ordinary shepherds, we too can heed the call that grows within us to change our plans and seek what really matters most.

Christmas Eve: Sacred Being 12/24/19

“…he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit…” — Titus 3: 4-7 “The Word became flesh and made his home among us.” — John 1: 1-14 “She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger…” — Luke 2: 1-20

It’s not difficult to imagine this night as “sacred.” We gather and sing and light candles and dare to believe that love truly enters the world time and again and anything is possible. What may be more difficult to understand, however, is that this love is ours not because we’ve been “good” (as if God is Santa Claus), but simply because we are beloved, the first born of God. Our very being is sacred. The incarnation of God in human flesh is proof.

Sacred Doing 12/29/19

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” — Revelations 21: 1-6a “Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.” — Matthew 25: 31-46

We’ve looked through the kaleidoscope of the sacred and have experienced time, people, places, others and ourselves as God’s holy love incarnate in the world. Because of the experience of God’s love, we are called to offer our very selves in service to spreading this Good News. On this Sunday before the turn of the New Year, we end our series by dedicating ourselves to sacred acts of mercy and justice.