Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Goodbye 2020, we will not miss you! Hello 2021 we’re so glad you’ve arrived!

I think I speak for most of us when I say – what a relief to get to the end of 2020, to have the divisive campaign behind us and a vaccine against COVID 19 ahead of us!

Still, as good as it feels to be looking forward with hope, I am reminded of the way a year can hold onto a person. My mother died in 2010. I had done my reading about grief, about it’s sneakiness and its way with holidays and anniversaries of all kinds. So I knew to expect depths of sorrow on my mother’s birthday, on Thanksgiving, and of course, at Christmas. But no one prepared me for the horror of the New Year. I simply did not want the world to keep going. The idea of living in a year in which my mother had not also lived filled me with a kind of dread.

If you are carrying that kind of grief and sadness into 2021 – I am praying with and for you, that you may receive comfort, strength, and renewal.

Holy EnvyOne of the things I love and value about the Christian tradition is that we measure time along with the rest of our culture in a linear way – counting days and marking progress. But we also count time according to the circle of the church year, as a cycle of days rather than a ladder.

As the twelve days of Christmas come to an end, we enter the season of Epiphany. On Epiphany Sunday, which we will observe on January 3, we celebrate the arrival of the “wise men from the east,” a symbol of the light of Christ being given for Gentiles as well as Jews –for the whole world. During the season of light we will turn to the world’s religions to understand and appreciate the light of our own more deeply.

I will be using Barbara Brown Taylor’s engaging book “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others,” as an outline for worship and study. We will have brief – all too brief – encounters with Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, to see their beauty and wisdom and to allow them to help us see our own Christianity afresh. To see our shortcomings and to be reminded of depths of our tradition that we may have lost sight of.

“The great brigtness at the center of everything exceeds anyone’s ability to possess it,” but all are invited into It’s light.

I hope this sermon series will enliven your heart and curiosity! And I hope that you will pick up a copy of the book (available at Powells, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon) and join me for Wednesday evening discussions beginning on January 13.