Friday, December 9, 2011
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:27-39
We are getting ready to host a party. Dear old friends are gathering this weekend to celebrate my husband Mark's 60th birthday and it is very exciting to think about all of these people we haven't seen in too long. I wish I could keep them all with me, gathered together, singing and laughing, telling stories and cheering each other on. Some barely know each other as we have been so many places and met so many wondrous people. And our daughters are coming and their beloveds, so my heart is full with anticipation, and although they are all grown, I ache to have them gathered around forever, like dear friends and family, so that every day we would be together, safe, warm and loved every moment.
We continue to find Jesus full of passion, sadness, anger and distress for the misuse of authority and love that God has so freely given. We hear that God aches to gather us, as a hen her brood, to mend our broken hearts and to make us one family together. And yet we humans, who have been blessed in so many ways, hold tight to out pride, our arrogance and our control, so that we keep love and God at bay. We are invited ,in this Advent journey, to undo the fists, set down the burdens of prejudice and control, and to open wide our arms and hearts to God to aches to hold us and renew is, to bathe us in love and light.
May today be that day, where we all chose to live as a child of God rather than a tyrant of ou own devising. May our hands be empty enough so that we can hold those who need shelter, may our lips be silent so that we can listen to the cries of the poor and may our pride be put away so that we may open our hearts to God's love ready to rain down upon us and our needy and aching world.