The mercy and love of a snowy day

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By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.’  Luke 1:78-79

Being a preacher’s kid (PK to the trade) even as a teen I read my father’s copy of “Christian Century.”   On the back was a poem by J. Barrie Shepherd about the gift of snow, describing very well snow in my childhood home of St. Louis and the record snow we are having in Binghamton today.   What stuck with me was the well-stated comparison of God’s mercy and the snow, both of which cover everything.  I would share the poem with you today, but it seems to be hiding after the most recent move.  

Today we in Binghamton have a 41” blanket of God’s mercy, covering things done and left undone.   Those last allium bulbs I meant to plant sit in storage still, and the holly branches offered to me by a friend remain on the tree.  I hope the hay covering some delicate plants is enough.  While the gift of snow shields my neglect from sight today, my desire to care and to find peace continue.  

Trusting in the grace of God’s mercy we can explore things done and left undone in our hearts, in our city, country and the world.  My heart is glad we had a donation of coats which were available to people yesterday, and until they are gone.  These came before the storm.  Generosity in feeding, clothing and providing for others continues.  May this sign of individual love continue to love for the broader community.  

Much has been done and left undone, and the recent violence in Washington DC against black churches highlighted hatred that is festering and boiling over.  Burning “Black Lives Matter” banners seemed to shout black lives don’t matter.   While this all shall be covered with God’s mercy, we are called to counter the hatred with love and to remind each one that black lives do matter and know they have not mattered as much as white lives in the course of U.S. history.   We are invited into an era that celebrates black lives, and soon may count Negro League statistics in overall baseball stats.*   

“We are put on earth to love.  That’s what it’s all about,”  says rapper Kendrick Lamar.   It sounds simple, but most of us who act in love know it is not easy.  It is easy to puts things off like planting allium bulbs or speaking up in the face of injustice or treating one’s enemies as children of God.  

The snow calls us again to pause, to breathe and to ponder what is done and left undone as we seek to love one another as God loves us.  We celebrate again the embodiment of love come down among us.  We know God’s great mercy and God’s call to love through the gift of Jesus.  Both cover all.

As Zechariah proclaims in Luke 1:78-79, the tender mercy of God shall yield a dawn to light the way and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

With every blessing for a Holy Advent and the grace of God’s mercy,

Mother Elizabeth

*as a baseball fan, this thrills me.