That Unexpected Advent

 

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Advent.  It is a time of hope, of waiting, of anticipation.  It marks the waiting the world has always known. So many words have been said about Advent.  We want to enter it, we want to live it.  We want to savour this time-this lead up to Christmas.

Advent is a time where we can step back, and reflect on this peculiar, kind of upside-down story of how God chose to enter our world …. as a baby—His Very Word made Flesh. And its a time that can be about preparing a place inside of us, within our carefully crafted lives, where God might enter, in his upside-down way, in his word-made-flesh kind of way.

 

As I have read and meditated on the lectionary Advent readings this month, it seems that rather than mark a nice, comfortable path to the end of the story in Christmas, what I think Advent does or can do is prepare us for the the beginning of this new story; these readings take us to an open door more than they lead to a happy hallmark twinkly light ending.

And you can really see this by looking at the whole month of Advent and the scriptures we reflect upon. They have this sense—not just of a Christmastime “hope” but of a deep and very deep prophetic longing—that longing and waiting that speaks to our innermost selves and what we need of God and also somehow it is a longing that speaks to the world. These scriptures, then,  are also about offering or yielding or preparing a place for that longing to grow into and then pour out of.

 

When we look at the the first week of Advent, is all about Crying for God to Come. The Scripture readings center around God’s people, CRYING OUT for God to appear decisively—Scriptures like Isaiah 64 which cry for God to tear open the Heavens, or Psalm 80 where the people are crying out from exile, “restore us Lord”.  There is deep pain, the knowledge of deep injustice and yes,  desperation for God to show himself that is not in any way lost on us today.

 

In the Second week of Advent, the scriptures all talk about GETTING READY for God to come—Isaiah 40, a voice is to cry out “Prepare God’s Way” and then in the gospel of Mark with John the Baptist so roughly and unequivocally calling for repentance, for baptism for the forgiveness of our sins and for getting ready for the Kingdom coming. Its such an honest preparing, baring of ourselves to get ready for God to come that the scriptures call us to. Its terrifying, really, that honesty.

 

Then on the third Sunday of Advent we are finally promised the GOOD NEWS. The nature of this news is being fleshed out in the scriptures of this week. Is. 61 talks about the Spirit of the Lord anointing a prophet who will bring Good News to the oppressed, the Psalm this Sunday is one of Ascent that the pilgrims would sing , returning from exile on the way to the rebuilt temple. And the gospel reading this week is John the Baptist who is pointing to a new and radical kind of Good News—one that is not like himself…”there’s one coming….”  Its not like anything they had ever seen.

 

And then we come to the fourth Sunday of Advent.   We read the annunciation and Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1 and and the scriptures all make the point- the Good News is officially announced.  And its announced…. to a girl. And moreover, its announced that this GOOD NEWS is coming THROUGH this girl and her baby. The promised end that all these scriptures have been pointing towards is shown to be a real, incarnated beginning—that is in fact, a human life. A small, vulnerable infant, completely dependant on another small girl who somehow made room within her for the BIGNESS of the fulfillment of ALL that deep pain and, deep preparing, deep hoping that preceeded this new life.

 

And this is the story that we get to live in during Advent.  This is where we sit with the God we have known to break into our own lives and just talk about preparing our own hearts for this season of longing, and this season of waiting, and this season of yieldedness, openness and preparation for what God is always doing.  We walk through this season and at the end we find there is not a final end but actually a doorway we are invited to walk through.

The following is a modified Lectio Divina on Luke 1.   Lectio Divina which just means, “divine reading.”   It’s a way of slowing down our reading and engaging and responding to Scripture, to the very familiar words.  Read the passage of scripture a number of times and after each time spend some time in silence, holding what you’ve read, letting it roll around you a bit.

As you read the text, hold it lightly. Even with all those words I just said about Advent, don’t try to listen or respond in the “right” way to the text. You can take some time to “THINK” about Advent later. Now is a time for experiencing it in God’s presence. If a word or phrase catches your attention, sit with it. Don’t feel you have to grasp or deal with the whole text. This is not analyzing or informational reading….its reading the text in such a way that allows you to enter into it, not stand above it, trying to glean something from it.   There are some questions to guide the silences but if God is speaking to your heart about something or calling you to stay with a word or thought, then follow that.   As with any time you come to God in this way of silence and mediation, don’t judge your feelings or reactions that come up as good or bad—but just hold what happens in that silence open before God, bring what comes up into the light and ask Him what He would say to you.

Very often God uses what surprises or startles or disturbs us as the beginning of something transformative.  I see this in Advent – the waiting and anticipation and weight of ALL our hopes.  And its fulfillment in a tiny, vulnerable baby born to a couple of kids in the middle of nowhere.

In You we put our trust.    Meet each of us in the place where you know we will find you, in the place of our own longing and deep hope. Prepare and open our hearts-in your completely unexpected and completely perfect ways.

 

Advent Lectio Divina

Luke 1: 26-38

  In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the girl’s name was Mary.   He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you. “   She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.   He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of this ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end. “   Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too; your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, FOR NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD.   Mary said, “You see before you the Lord’s servant. Let it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.

 

First Reading:

Is there one word or phrase that God is impressing on you?   Turn it over in your heart. Hold it up to God and ask him to show you why its staying with you.

 

Second Reading:

What do you feel as you hear this? Can you imagine yourself in this scene? What do Gabriel’s words make you feel? What do Mary’s words make you feel? Is there something specific in your life that connects with this? What can you hold up to God? Feel free to write down any thoughts or prayers.

 

 Third Reading:

What is the invitation to you tonight?  How is He inviting you into this Word?   How do you find yourself responding? Write down what God might be saying. Or rest quietly.

 

Thank you always God.  This story gathers us anew every year.  Open our eyes, our ears and our hearts. Breathe your breath into this season.  Prepare us to deeply hope in you, to cry out to you, to know you dwelling within us and to know you pouring out into our world. Prepare us to know your Peace, your Hope, your Joy, your Love, even as we now wait in darkness. In your Holy Name…Amen.

 

 

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Snow

I can’t sleep again tonight. The wind was rushing and whooshing when we went to bed. I kept thinking there was an animal in the trees, jumping from branch to branch, the way they kept swaying crazily. I think it blew all night.  I woke up…or I could say, my 3 year old woke me up, at 2am. She likes to physically assure us of her life’s presence and importance at 2 or 3 every morning. She usually hops into bed, snuggles between us and is peaceful and beautiful for about an hour. After an hour she usually starts to get hot and then restless. She kicks the covers off of her legs and because she is in the middle of the bed, she kicks the covers off us too. So we are left on the outside fringes trying to pull up a corner of the duvet to cover our shoulders while she very efficiently makes sure no covers are anywhere near her.   Then she twists and pivots and generally kicks one of us in the neck while using the other one as a lumpy pillow.   Every night.

So, yes, as I was saying, I couldn’t sleep tonight. I lay there for awhile and then finally just got up.   I made some coffee, compulsively checked all my inboxes and likes, and then looked out the window.

The wind is still going this morning but in the last 15 minutes, the snow has started to fall. I look forward to this time every year. It’s a palpable slowing down, quieting down. When the snow falls and its white and silent, I can relax. I don’t feel quite so frantic. Most of us would acknowledge that there is something about snow that’s magical (between November and early March. Before or after that, its not magical, its mean).   Like, remember when Lorelai made Max Medina go for a walk in the snow? Or the time Lorelai was having a fight with snow and Luke came around and made her a skating rink? Yah…..me too.

There is something about this yearly coming into Winter that reassures us.

Reassures me.

It is a hard season, though. It is harder to move around in winter. It is slower and bulkier and not as impulsive. Winter is not the carefree season. It strikes me as a heavy season. Weighty with what has happened that year, weighty with your own desires and needs and expectations. It makes you hunker down. You retreat for awhile and watch from the windows.   Winter can be treacherous, stinging, bitter. Winter is long and even with those moments of magic, it can be dreary. Especially after Christmas.

But it reassures me. As we enter it, and I get to watch this mornings subtle show of snowflakes in the orange halo of the street light, I am reassured by this yearly slide into death.   I am reassured by how the snow falls onto the brown, dead grass and covers the naked branches. I am reassured because I know its not for ever. I know it is for now. It is our yearly way to acknowledge we don’t make life on our own. It is our yearly liturgy of letting go a bit and watching.

The seasons of my heart probably don’t necessarily follow the seasons as we experience them in this unique place where the vast mountains rise up out of the vast prairies. But yearly, when the snow falls here, I am reminded of when I have been slower, bulkier and unable to move fast – in my heart, in my mind, in my spirit. I am reminded of those times when everything is weightier. When I feel the weight of what I desire, what I am capable of and of my big, big incapacities – my big cracks. I am reminded of when I am laid bare and unable to produce any life. And I am struck by how willing the earth is to die, every year. How the grass grows, how the plants hold on until it is time to go. Do they know in 6 months they will be restored? Do plants have genetic memory? I am reminded in winter of times when I have to pull back, stop doing and just watch from the windows for a bit. I am reminded of the grace of letting go. I am watching snow fall and thanking it for bringing me to this place of rest, dormancy, waiting. Snow helps me remember. So it is a sacrament. It helps me see the grace of the world, here in my heart, when I can sit and let go of today’s outcome and let my world be blanketed, covered, weighted. It calms me. And maybe that’s because I know it will end. I can remember years of winters and years of springs.  In my heart I know there have been springs after very cold, very dark winters.   I can breathe quietly because I know snow heals, in its way. And I hope, with deep knowing, that it does enable rebirth to take place and stun us all anew every year.

I am praying for this world this morning. I am overwhelmed by its hardness and I am overwhelmed by how complicated it seems sometimes.  Even the good answers don’t seem to be enough right now.   I am overwhelmed by how much I feel about it. I am craving the deadening of snow, the smoothing of the senses that have been firing too much, too often. We are overstimulated and tired and I am thankful for snow to fall onto that. Trusting and hoping that the world will awaken again and will bring life up and out again.  Always hoping that that’s the world we actually do live in.

I think the snow stopped for this morning. Just a dusting for today. There will be more – that, an Albertan can assure you of! The girls will be disappointed. though.   Snow to them is cause for joy – you can slide down, on your stomach, face first down the hill at school only when there is snow!   Not that they both don’t try anyways…… Those kids, they aren’t concerned yet with finding life after death, spring after winter, but finding life within it and because of it.

Those small, concentrated spots of truth and prophetic joy within the drifts of cold, wet, diamond snow.

Where Does Our Breathing Go ? (or….Stream of Consciousness Writing When My Kid Is At Preschool)

The three year olds are throwing around the theology these days.

My three year old has been asking lots of interesting questions lately. This morning, as we were crossing the reservoir it was, “Why do bridges hold up?”   Yesterday it was, “Why do we not float away into space like balloons?”   Good questions baby. Last week she asked, in tears, “Where are we when we die? Where does our breathing go? Will the earth die? I don’t want the earth to die. I don’t want to die. I want to bring life to the earth!” (Seriously…..I’m not even glossing that. It was intense. I’m not even sure where this all came from….I’m pretty sure Paw Patrol doesn’t cover this stuff….)

However it came about in her mind, it was the breathing question that hooked me. And her desire for life.   Somehow she knows, she intuitively put together that breath is essential to life, that they are connected. That something without breath is without life. And that her breath is connected to the earth being alive…..

And then last night I was flipping through some old books, thinking about how we read the bible, and came across this bit by Brian McLaren in reference to 2 Timothy 3:16 which is the “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful so that the man or woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” passage.

            “What is meant by God-breathed or inspired? God’s breath is associated, from the 1st verses of the bible with creativity and life-giving vitality. In Genesis 1, again and again, God breathes out: “Let there be…..” And God’s creative breath gives permission to whatever possibility (light, trees, fish, people) to become actual…..to actually come into being. In this primal, sacred narrative, the creative breath of God is associated with God’s life-giving Spirit who first moves over the chaos of the waters so they yield their creative possibilities and eventually teem with life, and who then enters humanity, making each person “a living soul” or a living person. To say Scripture is God-breathed is, then, to elicit this primal language of creation.”

God wanted life. God wanted his words to bring life. If something has life, it is dynamic, moving, flexible not rigid. It is growing, changing and developing according to its purpose – its set out DNA. It is reacting, it is initiating. It is interpreting, assessing, and making decisions on the world around it. It is interpreting its own self – that is to say, a living thing is connecting with the world, connecting with itself and then making conclusions, consciously or unconsciously, on how to proceed.

I think of how we read scripture. We often read it, or were taught to read it, like a wall, like a concrete foundation that we then build upon. And I can see that yes there is something bedrock about how scripture could come to reveal what underlies our lives.  But its foundationalism is not in the snippets of instruction written thousands of years ago.  When we try to read it that way and find ourselves mired in unhelpful arguments about head coverings, women speakers, or shellfish and picking grains of wheat on the Sabbath. Its foundationalism and its authority lies in the fact that it is a story. A long story. God’s long story.  A long arc, drawn across the stretch of the universe. It is our story. Its foundationalism resides in the fact that it is the breath which lives inside of that story that is the breath that gives us our very ability to live out our own stories.  The commands, the laws, the exiles, the cry of the prophets, the disciples, the early church and personal instruction therein – these are all a vital part of the story. Together they tell us what life with God was like for people then, what the character of that God was and is and always will be and because it is a true story, it resonates. We recognize it as our story. We recognize ourselves in David’s desires, in Isaiah’s call for justice. We recognize ourselves in the women at the well, in Peter’s denial, in the groups of believers that have to keep relearning and unlearning and relearning again what it is to know God together. We recognize this story because it is given life by the same breath that speaks life into the darkness we know very, very well.

It is a story of the loving creation of a whole world. I think of how I touch my babies’ faces when they sleep, I hold their soft cheeks with my cupped hands, drained from the sassiness of the day, these faces are still, their sleep bringing restoration. Their breathing is quiet but constant. I think of God cupping the face of his creation, that love, that wonder, that care. I think of how the story starts. With His life, his very word, breathing breath into his world, his universe.   I think of how the story links our beginnings, our first steps, our createdness and our ability to create.  And the story moves on – We find ourselves and our remarkable ability to miss the mark at the center of this story. We read this story, ingrained onto our own hearts in the details, the history, real and alive – awful details, horrible and violent. God’s story is told in the midst of a creation coming to terms with itself and coming to see where their true heart lies. God’s story of him and us is told through the culture of a people, much like it is still told through ours and other cultures today.  And this is the way he wanted it.  All our understanding about Him comes THROUGH our very specific, peculiar cultures.  None of us stands outside of that or outside of the biases and assumptions that being a human born into a culture necessarily brings to our understanding of God.

I think of how the story goes through an arc of drama, tension, beauty, failure. I think of how at all points this is a story about how love breaks through our expectations and draws us back to where we were meant to be. I think of how this story is still being written. And that’s where this breath idea hits me hard. The story of God and us, as revealed in the bible, is a story that is not over. It is not static. It is not a concrete pad that we pile big, impregnable boulders upon. It is alive. It is God-breathed. It is growing and developing according to its purpose: its purpose being to tell and retell the story of God and us. Even now. As these old, old words are read by people who bring their own unique perspective to the world, these old, old words are being breathed into over and over bringing new understanding, making sense to new generations – sometimes with different results (we now generally look down on slavery and that’s because we re-interpreted scripture and because we looked at the big story – not the cultural details about masters and slaves. We all seem to recognize now that slavery, in any form, doesn’t fit with the big story God is continually writing even though its well supported by the writings we call God’s word). They are being given a chance to breathe out their life into new lives, new situations, new contexts, new peculiar humans just trying to find their heart.

There is a word that I’ve said is my favorite word – incarnational. We talk about the Scandal of the Incarnation. How unfathomable it is that the breath that keeps this universe growing was the breath of Jesus of Nazareth. How the cosmic and eternal power of The Creator was brought into distinct and empowered expression in Jesus of Nazareth and how this man’s personality, his family, his decisions, his talents were all brought to bear in the flowering of The Christ. The doctrine of the Incarnation is an old, hard fought one that we hardly give thought to. But it is a doctrine that absolutely validates our right to be human, our status as good creations, our part of the story.  A dear friend of mine says that creation – this physical and alive world and our physical and alive humanness in it – is not the setting in which our souls have to transverse.  It is THE main character in this story.  It is the subject of His absolute majesty.  And then that God became man tells us that it is good to be a human, it is good to sleep, good to eat, good to need a home, need family, need to work, need to belong.  Creator, redeemer – they are the same and they were there at the beginning as they will be there together at the end.   These are part of our design as good creations – they are what make us His.

I think about how God has chosen, over and over, to work within the particularities of a people. How He has chosen to become so entwined with his creation, that he would let himself be known through relationships, through the music different cultures create, through different cultural artifacts and quirks. He chooses this because He values our fleshed out humanness. He more than values our humanness; it is central to how and who He is. He is all about His creation.

In very real ways, understanding our faith incarnationally will change us. It allows us to value the things that make us real and whole humans – good food, good sleep, good sexuality, good family, good songs, good stories, good learning, good growing. Knowing that God lives his redemption through a human body allows us to reclaim our bodies. To take them back from hatred and mistrust to wholeness and healing and value and enjoyment. We do not have to hate our bodies to love God. As we come into love with God more and more, we will begin to treat our bodies as beloved. We will come to treat our own minds with care and love and welcome. What the fall did in part was separate us from God by separating us from our bodies, ourselves. What God did in Jesus was bring us back to the pulse of God’s heart by bringing us back to ourselves, our very real bodies, our very real stories. That is why we remember him WHENEVER we eat or drink. That is why we are His body – every part valuable and working together.

Our Christian faith is an incarnational one. At least it could be – if we let it. We could be whole, body, soul, spirit.   We could walk through the hard stuff of our lives trusting that the way we were made – vulnerable and in need of sleep and care and real bread – was actually the way home. The path to that wholeness might be a long one and it might be winding. It might be one that we never come to the end of. But it is our promise. And in His amazing mercy and amazing love for us and astounding delight in us, he even lets the hard parts, the damaged parts, the broken parts, the parts we wrecked or that were sliced through by others, become the places of healing and true flowering of grace for others and maybe even our own hearts. And that might be a path that takes years and years and years to walk up.

Living out an incarnational faith. This is a big subject. One that plays out into every part of our lives. Our relationships with our earth, our food.   Our relationship with our families, our relationships with ourselves, our bodies and our emotions. Understanding our faith incarnationally will change how we read, digest and interpret scripture, how we read, interpret and move within our culture. How we deal with birth, how we deal with death, how we deal with grief and with suffering. How we encounter one another, The Other, the hurting, the brokenhearted, the refugee, the orphan, the weird kid who makes everyone really uncomfortable.

So for today, I am thinking about what living incarnationally does to my understanding of scripture. And what I think this means in my everyday bible reading is this: I enter into these words, expecting them to reach me here and now. I enter the scriptures and understand that I am entering into my story. A big one. That I may understand differently in a few years. The scriptures are alive. They are not static. And not one of us truly lives as if they are. I enter the words knowing that they were written, not by God without human affect and not by humans without the inbreaking of the in-spirit-ation of God, without his breath bringing it into form and sound and life. The living word.   The incarnated word.

Just as God chose to bring himself to his world through a particular person, a particular community, in a particular time, with all the culture and the worldview that gave an individual, so he chose to work in our words like this. He chose to work and breathe within the very particular lens of interpretation each group on earth works within. And this makes a difference. It will make a difference in how we approach scripture and to how we approach each other. We, in this age, with this privilege, do not have the handle on interpretation. We are just the most recent in a long line of people who have had to work out their faith within the confines of what they knew to be true. In 1000 or even 100 years, what will be different about what we understand about scripture. How will the dialogue we have with it be different. If anything, understanding scripture incarnationally will give us humble pause and will cause us to look up more than we lash out.

And it will allow us to understand those that see things differently than us are not evil, but have had a different incarnational experience and see things differently. We will interpret differently. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to bring levels of awareness to each other.  And that doesn’t mean it’s a free for all and any way of understanding goes. It does mean that we gauge everything by The Incarnated Word.  It does mean that we have to choose to love the individual in front of us with all the honesty we have – if only because we recognize that none of us has the full picture. We need eachother to fill it in. We need to listen for course correction and for that which resonates with our own heart as it is being called by our Creator. We need each other to incarnate the word for us more fully, more in- love-ly. And as with anything that has to do with actual love for each other, this process is way harder, way longer, way less susceptible to the forces of power and control that have always fed our worst nature. Living and interpreting incarnationally is hard work because it won’t let you remain unchanged by the person opposite you. But its work that will always leave you more full and more open and more in love with the world that you are a part of breathing life into.

My three year old baby – she’s funny and weird and full of very loud life. She is full-on. And she knows that her breath is her life. And she knows that her breath is connected to the breath of the world. She knows it instinctively. She knows it because she has been living for 3 years and is growing according to her own DNA, developing into her incarnated expression of our Living God.   And so are you and so are your kids. Lets teach them to read their lives and the lives of those around them with a love for the God who expresses through them. Lets teach them to read their own stories and the story of the world and the long story of faith in such a way that they are allowed to breathe into it even as it breathes into them.  Do not let us forget that this is a living story, ever changing, ever growing, ever learning, ever developing according to its purpose, its DNA, which is to tell and retell the story of God and us. Father, help us to always hold in front of ourselves the incarnation of you – your very word – in one another.  Because this is how you do it – fully fleshed, dynamic, creative and growing.

Living word, breathe life to the world today…..and even, and maybe especially, to the three year olds.

The Honorable

— I suppose it had to happen eventually – I’ve been at this church for almost 7 years.  I mean, its not like jvs doesn’t talk about this in his sleep 😉  But this is a full-on, two-book way of seeing things.  Seeing God in everything – seeing that fingerprint of how he is in this world THROUGH the things in our world.  Even cabinet appointments!

The news cycle has cycled right on past this now – apparently Starbucks did something to their cups and, I’m not sure, but the world is ending I think….

But a couple weeks ago, something I read on the CBC News site that really struck me. I read this article about the response to Jodi Wilson-Raybould’s appointment as Minister of Justice. I had a strong reaction to it. A good one and it surprised me. And my reaction to hearing about these appointments and the reaction to it was, “Of course.” Of course this is good news. This is good news because I am a Christian and when I see things that make me see Jesus, that’s good news.

Now don’t get upset and think I am saying this particular government is God’s appointed government. I am not saying that loving the liberals is the Christian thing to do, necessarily.  I’m not saying that. What I am saying is, that the reason, I think, this appointment and the whole cabinet appointment caught our attention and the attention of so many is that it is a clear, beautiful and true image of something we already know to be true . It is a picture we can look through and see God.

And what we see when we look through these appointments and “read” this story, and see Ms. Raybould take the oath of office is nothing short of an image of incarnation. It reveals to us the nature of THE Incarnation and it catches us a bit – it calls us a bit.

Because God chooses to work over and over (and yes I’ve said this before….but I like saying it so I’m going to again) through the lives and the long development of a human life to show who He is. Jesus, God-With-Us, God fleshed out in a very particular history, God Incarnate. Who Jesus of Nazareth was, in particular, in his detail, mattered. Because place matters and matter matters and the stuff of our lives matter. Everything that makes us who we are matters. And He wants us to know that and moreover He wanted to redeem that.  And in the Mattering of Jesus’ life, there was brought together the perfect representation of Who God Is and Who We Are.   And how he incarnated that life, with his personality, his choices, his history, his struggles, his sufferings made him the perfect fit for all that He is to each of us now.

What people are seeing in this cabinet appointment here is that Jodi Wilson-Raybould knows what it is like to be a woman. She knows what it is to navigate in this country as a minority (and a profoundly misunderstood, mistreated and misrepresented one, I think it would be safe to say).   As a leader in her community, she knows what it is to hold and own her own culture, her own identity up and out and then to lead from that place.   She knows what it is to study and work, very hard, and to respect and defend the laws that we have to cling to in our democracy.

She is all these things in herself, in her person. The family she grew up in, the culture and community she knows herself belonging to, the choices she made, the schooling she undertook, the work she has done. It-the Mattering of her life – has all led to her being an astoundingly good fit for our next Minister of Justice – particularly because, as many have pointed out, that is the role that will be undertaking an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.   For such a time as this, indeed.

I will say it again, in the Mattering of Jesus’ life, there was brought together the perfect representation of Who God Is and Who We Are. And how he incarnated that life made him the perfect fit for all that He is to each of us now.

Her appointment and her story imaged the Incarnation of God to me.  It showed me a picture of why the Incarnation makes everything different.  Different because no longer are our bodies, our histories, our fleshliness liabilities. They are brought into the personhood of God.  No longer is her womanhood, her Indiginous heritage, her skin colour, her personality with all its choices potential barriers to her contributing to the world. They are the reason she has something to say.  And they are the locus of her authority on the matter.   No longer are we shut out from a life with the love of our own soul because of our bodies, our stories, our families, our frailty, our weakness.  In Jesus, his own body, story, family, frailty were the locus of his authority on Who God is With us and who we are now with our creator.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s story imaged the Incarnation of God to me.  Maybe your story does too. Maybe each of ours does, in small ways or maybe even big, flesh out who God is in this world.

In very real ways, I pray for Jodi Wilson-Raybould and all the work she has before her. I pray for true justice and empowerment for people long dismissed and feared and burdened while knowing that she is not a hero so much as a servant in this role and will probably have to juggle more issues and importances than I will ever realize. I pray that she is truly the right fit for this. And I pray for Godly things…both mercy and justice to be present and accounted for.

And I’m thankful for the democratic exercise we got to witness last week. I enjoyed taking part in it through the magic of the weird interweb world and through it I even got to see a bit of God. And that’s always a good day.