The Festival of LightsMonday, December 19th, 2016 12:54 pm
Dear Beloved Justice-Seekers,
Each year I journey through Advent with the same devotional. It’s called Night Visions: Searching the Shadows for Advent and Christmas written by United Methodist Jan L. Richardson. It prepares me for the journey reminding me to seek out the sacred in the places of deep darkness and great light. The most meaningful for me has always been the Festival of Lights.
“In the years to come I will learn how necessary it is to keep dancing, how celebration is not a luxury but a staple of life, how in the grimmest moments I will need to take myself down to the closest festival at hand. I will go not to drown my sorrow or to mask my despair or to ignore the real suffering of the world or of my own self. I will go to beat out the message with my feet that in the darkness we are dancing, and while we are weeping we are dancing, and our legs are aching but we are dancing. And under the night sky we are dancing; lighting a match to the shadows, we are dancing; starting to sing when they have stopped the music, we are dancing; sending shock waves with our feet to the other side of the world, we are dancing still." Jan L. Richardson
These last few months Richardson’s reminder to seek out the moments of joy even in the midst of the weeping have been life-giving for me. A reminder of the importance of reclaiming celebration as an act of holy resistance in the midst of an ever more broken and hurting world. Perhaps you have needed a reminder too. Perhaps it was the actions of the 2016 General Conference or the recent US and local elections that threatened to extinguish your light. In moments like that I remind myself of the great honor I have of dancing with each of you. I am reminded that justice-seekers just like you are resisting the narrative of exclusion by opening your congregations as Sanctuary Churches to our immigrant neighbors; you are declaring your radical welcome and inclusion of our LGBTQIA siblings by publicly resisting laws that mask hate as religious freedom; you are proclaiming the sacred worth of women and girls by protecting their right to make informed decisions about their bodies; you are declaring that a true and lasting peace requires justice for all people; you are declaring access to clean water in Flint, Standing Rock, and in every community throughout the world is the most basic of human rights; you are resisting the deadly violence of racism embedded within our criminal justice system; and you are standing with our interfaith neighbors because we all deserve to feel safe within our homes and houses of worship.
You are taking yourselves down to the closest festival, march, vigil and capitol building at hand dancing to the song of sacred change for all people. This year on Christmas as we celebrate the birth of the one who brings us hope, peace, love, and joy I will be giving thanks for each of you. I will be giving thanks for the gift of dancing out the songs of sacred change with the justice-seeking people of faith in our movement. I will do so with joy as an act of holy resistance. Help us in this moment in our movement to continue to choreograph a dance of holy resistance by making a gift to MFSA. Let’s dance!
In Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy;
Deaconess Darlene DiDomineck
Interim Executive Director