Sunday, December 18, 2005

Candle Power

Wednesday is Winter Solstice. it's the darkest day of the year for our hemisphere. For one half of our planet, Christmas comes at the sunniest time of the year. For them it's the longest day. It's fitting to celebrate the birth of Jesus at the darkest time because he was born into darkness in more ways than in terms of the Northern Hemisphere.Thinking about Winter Solstice correctly is to not consider it in terms of darkness, but in terms of the return of light. It's the day that the earth begins it's revolution back around to the side that gives the Northern Hemisphere more light. Thursday will be a little longer than Wednesday. So, Winter Solstice is the day that our Pagan friends celebrate the return of Father Sun. Those of us who are practicing Christians don't celebrate the darkness into which Jesus was born, but the light of the love God that he brought to us.Not only was it good timing in the celestial year but it was good timing in history. It was a dark time for Jesus’ people, the Jews. Jesus came at a time when oppression for Israel was at an all-time high. The Roman appointed governor was an exceptionally cruel man and his family was about as evil as human beings can get. Jesus brought a beam of light into that dark time for his own people in the midst of that oppression.He also came to oppressed classes of people regardless of the hemisphere in which they lived. It's a shame that his name has been used to further oppress people and subject them to even more cruelty as the church its power across both hemispheres. Jesus was a prophet for the oppressed not the oppressors. They usurped his name and the power of his message to bring more darkness common folk across the planet. Jesus belongs to ordinary people not governments or corporations. The very conditions of his birth speak directly to that. Jesus was born in a barn, midwifed by a carpenter, and nested in a feedbox lined with straw borrowed from beasts of burden. The fancy-schmancy plastic nativity portrayed by the popular church and paraded up and down the aisles of wealthy malls and department stores is distasteful at best and heretical at worst.Jesus came to us - those whose families come from slavery and poverty. He's been appropriated by the rich and powerful and they have no right to him. Governments are lying when they make a claim to him and use his name to further their whims of oppression and control. His name is used to make more money than to bring light to those who live in the dimness of poverty and despair.Last week, our part of the world iced over in a storm that weighted down trees and power lines until they were ripped from root and pole. It was a time that thousands of us were reminded that of the false sense of security that modern technology brings us. We had to spend too much time bailing out basements and preserving frozen food to enjoy the quiet from the lack of machinery in our homes. But in our little house, there were hours that we sat with each other in the light of candles and oil lamps enjoying each other. There was something natural in that short time that reminded me that that the light Jesus brought was not the mega-Watt lights of stadiums but the tiny candle of hope that fits in my heart. Multi-mega Wattage and amplitude speaks of power even when its boomed in the realms of sprawling, city-sized churches and well muscled denominations. Candles glimmer in the darkness for people too poor in spirit to imagine themselves important enough for such flickering hope. One kind speaks of boardrooms, control and power the other of strength of character and love.Sometimes I hate Christianity for the way its been used to sell, overwhelm and suppress. But then the glimmering light of Jesus coming into the darkness of my discouragement reminds me that the power of the light of Christ is not in halogen filaments but in the waxy wicks of single candles glowing in each one of us - one at a time. This is the light that the darkness has not understood and until the church disconnects its power and lives in the lowly flicker of the light of Christ, it won't understand it either.


At Friday, 27 January, 2006 , Blogger isaiah said...

"But then the glimmering light of Jesus coming into the darkness of my discouragement reminds me that the power of the light of Christ is not in halogen filaments but in the waxy wicks of single candles glowing in each one of us - one at a time."

Ken, it's been a while since I've read here...and I just love your writing. I'm sitting here wondering why I choose to live my life as I do instead of pursuing my passion of working with those transitioning...yes, dying to this world, as you do.

I tell myself it's because I need more life experience. I know nothing of death. I haven't had to deal with death yet in my young 39 years on this planet.

Does it take experiences with death to make a worthy companion to those who are dying? Is calm, peacefull silence too much or too little to offer someone in need of answers to unanswerable questions? Is the presence of one who realizes death is not the end enough to offer peace to those in need? How much talking and pursuasion does it take to assist those who are in doubt? What is enough forgiveness? Is it ever too late to forgive?
Is it a sin to not have answers to these questions when the time comes and someone in need asks for answers?

Please stay with your writing, your work- someone is reading and learning from you.


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