(r)Advent Week 3: Joy

By the rivers of Babylon,
we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our harps.
For there our captors demanded songs
and our tormentors asked for joy:
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
How can we sing a song of Adonai in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:1-4, Tree of Life Version

It can be hard to experience joy when so much hardship abounds in the world. When our political and economic systems and structures seem to be crumbling from the top down. When people continue to be marginalized because of their skin color, sexuality, gender, disability, or simply the place they happened to be born. When our religious institutions insist on fealty to doctrines rooted in power and control.

And yet, joy still seems to break through, often in the most unexpected ways and places.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll continue our celebration of (r)Advent by exploring the theme of Joy, where we find it, and how we can share it through acts of justice and liberation.

Please join us this Sunday, Dec. 12, in our New Wineskins Virtual Theology Pub as we consider how simplicity and gratitude can fuel our quest for joy even as we experience the lament of exile.

Don’t forget to bring your (r)Advent candles to light as we continue the journey toward Love incarnate.

Week 3 Candle Lighting Liturgy:

I will light three candles
to sparkle with joy.
For God lights constellations
and the tips of angel wings
light years far away,
and light years as near as breath.

We light (and help to blow out)
ninety-five candles on a birthday cake,
the high circle of a Ferris wheel,
the smile of a pumpkin,
marshmallow of a ‘smore,
branches of a Christmas tree,

and the luminarias that say ­
this is a home/church that welcomes all,
every age, race, education,
ability, orientation, ethnic origin,
gender identity, job status,

old friend or stranger becoming new one,
those who claim their history
and their identity,
others who close their lips to listen
and feel the joy in their hearts.

We raise three candles,
and know we cannot do it by ourselves
for each of us have only two hands.

For ordinary, available, gentle, brave,
and with wide-open doors,
is the hope, peace and joy of Advent.

A Simple Advent Candle Lighting for Home or Church based on Howard Thurman’s “I will Light Candles this Christmas” and “This is Christmas” from The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations by Maren C. Tirabassi

6:00pm EST: Happy Half-Hour (informal meet & greet time)
6:30pm EST: Presentation & conversation begin

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