Clinging to hope in new beginnings

It is February. Where has the time disappeared? Our lives have seemed to settle into a rhythm of organizing the unknown, sprinkled with disturbing news stories, hope, political unrest, light, and COVID-19. We know God is in our midst and that God brings order to the chaos. It is in that order that we begin to see the light and hope of God shining from the hearts of others and ourselves.

We began the first day of February with the Holy Day of Saint Brigid of Ireland. February 1st is also the beginning of spring on the Celtic calendar. On this day, early Christians celebrated rebirth in the first stirrings within the earth to bring forth new life, longer days, and hope. St. Brigid is remembered for her fierce stands against the powerful for justice and peace, as she advocated and protected the vulnerable. She built a thriving monastery in Kildare and cared for women and orphaned or displaced children. At her table, she welcomed all. She was known for radical hospitality. The flame of the hearth and heart are symbolic of the Holy Spirit, which dwelled in Brigid and shined light into a dark world. Saint Brigid is attributed to have said, “If you give with your heart, you bless others, and in that gift is the blessing, which will come back to you.”

Justice and peace, such symbols of St. Brigid in 500’s Ireland, are repeated in the 1960’s U.S. Civil Rights movements. On February 2, we celebrated the anniversary of the peaceful Greensboro lunch counter sit-in of 1960. Black college students sat quietly, asking to be served at a Woolworth lunch counter. As they sat, the young people were harassed by white customers. The peaceful steadfastness of the college students prevailed. The fire of the Holy Spirit warmed humanity. The beginnings of breaking down an unjust racial system had begun.

During this week of the Church year, Mary and Joseph ventured into the temple to present their beautiful baby, Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise and love for each of us.

February is also known as the month of Black History (a little ironic because all our histories are intertwined). After years of totally omitting the contributions of our siblings of color, this is also seen as a beginning. As we move into the future, let us hope we will weave all events and people, regardless of color or ethnicity, into the fabric of our being. We do not function in isolation. We function in community. We are the body of Christ.

As you cling to hope and celebrate the lengthening of days:

May the fire of the Holy Spirt burn brightly from your heart. 
May you be the giver of the love which is needed.  
May you be the catalyst of new beginnings.
May your heart and table be open to all humanity and creation. 
May you see the tiny new life sprouting from the cold earth. 
May you listen to the stories of our siblings. May you stand firmly in peace, justice and love. 
May you be known for radical hospitality.

We give the glory to our loving God and in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

+Deacon Jackie