Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent from the Underside: Symbols of Compassion

A rosary ? Why, yes. Despite my deep Protestant roots, literally centuries deep, decades of chaplain training have made certain I always have a few in the glove box in the car. 

 What exactly does a Menorah look like? Let me google it on my phone and we can look at a picture together.... Half an hour or so and several sheets of construction paper later- an almost perfect representation if the Wikipedia pic. 

The hope of divine compassion real in human life. Light overcoming darkness. The comfort of familiar ritual- centuries proved. Human suffering knows no bounds, cares not for doctrine or belief. It seeks only the blessing of relief, the strength beyond strength of hope amid overwhelming grief, suffering and unrelenting pain. 

At a shelter for the homeless, unmedicated mentally ill: Advent from the underside. Come Emmanuel, come soon.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's About the Women: Advent from the Underside

Advent from the Underside is about the woman. It is about the birthing room’s gushing waters and blood, the point of God’s entry into the life of flesh and blood made holy. The groaning pain of childbirth, sanctified, all of creation pushing, crying, towards new life and hope. It is about the women,  the sister-mothers, aid, comfort, joy, the witnesses of the spirit, birthing Life among us. Emmanuel.  
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Romans 8:22 (NIV)
Poem for Advent 2011


Ancestral midwives kneel in shadows

bringing aid and comfort
witness giving
to the pains and crying out and pushing,

...prepare the way,
For birthing
in a gushing
mess with cries of gratitude and joy,

As water holy turned
to blood in breaking open paths and sacks
that spill out life
and milk and bread
from deepest springs of hope ferocious.

Beyond the burning ropes
and rapes
and silence, neglect and jailings all of them passed over
stories buried
never heard of more nor seen nor named for eons
but now we care and picture them and her with them and us.

And tell how even Sister-Mother-Midwife Allah
gave a tree bent down to shake
to give her fruit
and water in a rivulet
to bathe her tears and terrors.

And now we know that tales of her alone with no one near
are told from fear of what might be
with women’s arms around her.

To this very day they warn “You dare not, Women,
think of that. She’s not like you for were she that

God would never come through you.”

But sister, mother, holy one, around you waiting now as then
we sisters, mothers, holy ones are here with you to aid and comfort
wait with you and witness to
the work and spirit in you ready here and now is God.

And when we breath with you and help you with the birth
we bring it all
to life among us
all a’groaning to be saved and free
and all in all, Good Women,
in you, with you, for you all
in God’s good healing time.


Featured image: "Mary and the Midwives." " by artist Janet McKenzie. commissioned by Barbara Marian.