I wonder when U.S. Christians began to lose touch with Jesus. The thought has crossed my mind from time to time in recent years, but lately it surfaces daily. My heart sinks as Christians in the news and on my Facebook feed rally behind building a wall on our southern border and denying Muslims from war-torn countries entry to ours. I'm baffled as Christians brazenly proclaim, "America first!" while professing to follow the Nazorean carpenter who declared more than once, "The last shall be first, and the first will be last."
In Horizons, younger sisters reflect on their lives, ministries, spirituality and the future of religious life.
I am gripping ski poles through fleece-lined mittens, my feet secured to cross-country skis. My arms and legs slide back and forth, propelling me forward along the trail. I have only been in these woods on this bright Saturday morning for about 10 minutes, but my warm breath is already fogging up my thick glasses.
On television this week, I watched the footage of startled and scared travelers from the seven countries banned by President Donald Trump's executive order, finally free after hours of being detained, questioned and, in some case,s even handcuffed by immigration officials, pushing their luggage carts past large crowds of people in baggage claim.
I made my way to the Women's March on Washington last Saturday filled with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I had gone back and forth about whether I should go, torn between a deep-seated conviction that there are matters of basic human rights, dignity and justice that need to be defended, and an internal disquietude about a broad protest platform that included certain positions I didn't agree with.
The words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. haunt me. Are we too comfortable in the center of society as to step out to the margins? Are we too focused on the divisions among us that we do not have the courage to be the Christians we are called to be?
During this National Migration Week, I've been reflecting on these opportunities I've had to "migrate" out of my comfort zone and to be welcomed as "stranger" in other lands. I reverence those crucial parts of my life. They have made me a better Christian.
About a week before I professed my final vows, in the summer of 2015, I had a crisis of faith. Staring into the expansive mystery and intensely aware of my human limitations, I felt my spirit stir with anxiety and tension. How could I possibly submit myself to a life centered on God if I am not completely sure what God is? How can I say "yes, forever" if the future feels frightening?
We Christians have just celebrated Christmas Day, an opportunity to celebrate the in-breaking into our wounded and divided world of Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace. The radical message of Christmas tends to get lost among the decorations, festivities and general commercialization of the holiday.
It seems silly that in this season of Advent all I have been able to think of is the Easter Vigil. A vision of darkness lit by the tiniest of candles: I recall in my mind's eye the deacon in my home parish pacing back and forth as he preaches. I must have been about 15 years old, and now, a lifetime away from that moment, his words echo in my ears: God works in darkness.
The season of Advent has always been one of my favorites. It is a time to be quiet and to commit more time to listening; a time to revel in the power of simple flames atop purple candles, casting out the darkness; a time to really ponder all the ways God's presence in our midst reveals itself; a time to prepare for the coming of Christ in ways unexpected, beautiful and ordinary.
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