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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent 2: A girl on a trapeze needs help


12/4
The second Sunday in Advent.  There is no sign of the 50-60 Occupiers who slept here last night.  Just Teddy on the steps eating breakfast. Everything neat as a pin. And several of our Occupy friends join us for worship. I decide to stop trying to have service for a  hundred for a small cicle of people. So I invite them to sit in a circle and more join us. The energy changes. 
Rather than heading straight into a sermon, I open a conversation about wilderness. Ask people what it brings to mind. For some deserts. For others, western forests. And for another, a jungle. Danger. Self-reliance. And I explain how the wilderness was a place for radical religious movements and resistance fighters. How the revolutionaries in Nicaragua gathered in las montanas.
And we talked about how the prophet spoke to a community of exiles. How being in exile is to feel like you don’t belong.  Who knows what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong? And heads nod. The feelings of anger, powerlessness and even guilt. Who nurtures,inspires, empowers them? What would be good news? How the word gospel originally referred to Roman imperial propaganda celebrating their victories. And Mark, the  first gospel wirter, was subverting the meaning of the word.  
And how they were in exile in Babylon. How Babylon is everything that destroys faith and community. Idolatry, wealth, power, luxury.  Like for Bob Marley, Chant down Babylon. And then John the Baptist, scruffy as an Occupier, but also reminiscent of Elijah. Not just a forerunner, but one who went face to face with the powers, like John would with Herod. 
And then highways. Highway songs:Route  66, Highway 61 revsited,  Head out on the highway...(Born ti be Wild), Highway to Hell....something about freedom, openness...like in Pennsylvania, drilling through mountains to make a highway. And this highway, this Advent highway, a highway to bring the exiles home.  To welcome them home.  Somehow with extra meaning today with our Occupy friends with us. 
And I finish by telling the congregation about our week. The Occupiers. The Anti-Sweatshop people and the foundation. Getting Rudolfo to the hospital. Laura’s perfomance attended by students, parents, church people and Occupiers. We are a church all week, not just on Sundays.  And that is the church we are. 
When it comes time for communiuon, I take the bread, ask where our bread comes from. Teddy from Occupy says he’s unemplyed. The food comes from friends. Someone else on a pension, someone else lucky to have a job. And the presence of Jesus in every step in the process of bread. Our friends in the Anti-Sweatshop movement. Bread of Life. And then we talked about wine, and Amanda spoke about the whole process of making wine.  And I took it further, to being crushed, sacrifice on behalf of others. And Jesus there too. No separating vine from branches. 

And Soon and very soon we are going to see the King...no more dying, no more crying, soon and very soon...a different kind of king...
There was electricity in the circle as we gathered in the circle and held hands for the final blessing. 
I haven’t felt that way in a service in a long time. Tha surge of adrenaline, of energy, that feeling that you are exaclty where you are supposed to be doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing being who you are supposed to be.  That feeling makes it all worth it.
I stay for Jane’s service, to say thanks. And invite everyone to our celebration.
At five o’ clock we all gather for a talk through, walk through for the event. Tony has brought his tools and is creating the hole through which Rachel will rig her fabric. 

Final cleaning up is going on. There are actors and musicians and dancers and Occupiers. I turn to Sarah and say, This place is mad crazy, but I love it. Just then, Dan from Occupy, the DJ, walks up and says, I hear a girl on a trapeze needs help... And I look at her again and say, See what I mean?
Tomorrow’s the day.....

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