Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent II


The first really cold morning. Stop by Barney Greengrass for coffee, thank Gary for his help yesterday. Getting ready for church in our newly clean sanctuary. The left over cleaning supplies up front like an offering. Some people are reluctant to come because of the cold. Andre has not come, I’ll miss his voice. We’ll have to talk about this.

Today is the second Sunday of Advent. It is also Hannukah in our neighborhood. Holly has brought a menorah, talks to our children about the meaning of the different days. We continue to collect food for the food pantry, pennies for the "penny harvest" and pajamas for children. This is the Sunday John the Baptist, that tall steeple preacher’s kid turned rebel, comes. I think of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s son Jay in his bar and street ministry in Brooklyn. His story about how the gay community’s ironic relationship to his mother as an icon turned into a real relationship, how they supported her during her cancer. We talk about lions and lambs, baptism, wilderness. If wolves wag their tails, do lambs need to become more lion hearted? Can some of us stop roaring? I think of the American folk paintings by Hicks, the open faced animals, my Quaker cousins. Are we still in the wilderness, or on our way home? Was John the Baptist’s reinvention of the mikveh a rejection of Herod’s greco-roman baths near his temple as a symbol of occupation, collaboration? How are we collaborating? Or becoming liberated? Did Jesus go in as a sign of solidarity? During the service at least four people come in, look around, leave...What would they need to see, hear, to stay? Our people are bundled up against the cold.

Amanda sings her song about rebirth in the ruins she prepared for the event the other night, Juan adding amazing color on his guitar.

What can you give. What do you know.
Come to this place where we can grow.
This body breaks a weary soul.
I came tonight. Full of hope.
Here we are in Ruins.
Something to give. Something to learn.We'll start off
small. And see what works.

We share an Advent communion. Deacon Pat and Elder Holly hold the bread and cup. Philip leads us in “Let us break bread together.” We hold hands and sing “Soon and very soon” and “Halle,halle, hallelujah...” I’m amazed that Nirka continues to come in all the way from Flushing, Queens on public transportation to be here. Samantha shares her clothing designs from her fashion institute classes. P____ continues to worry about her case. How will we continue through Advent in the cold? The people sing "happy birthday" to me. We clean up, lock up, go out into the sun, the cold, together.

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