To Hold and Make History Holy
from Rev. Sandra’s Study
The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in an illusion, grieve in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.
November marks a turning – a seasonal turning, a liturgical turning, and an emotional one. The days grow shorter, nights longer. We anticipate the family-oriented celebrations at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. How will we make the turn this year? How will we tell the truth? How will we begin the process of holding the history of our traditions with the many changes we are undergoing?
This month, several services and rituals vital to our church community will support us in navigating these questions. At the beginning of the month, Dia de Los Muertos offers us a time to, as Walter Brueggemann writes, “grieve in a society that practices denial.” Actually though, we do something even more countercultural. We learn from the Mexican tradition how we might approach death less grimly and with more of a spirit of joy.
Later in the month, we gather in our church community to express gratitude and to reflect on what it means to be thankful – even amid suffering. We also have the opportunity to come together on the eve of Thanksgiving with the interfaith community to worship, learn, and be in community.
And on the last Sunday in November, we, as Brueggemann writes, “express hope in a society that lives in despair” by lighting the first candle of Advent. I look forward to seeing you in person and virtually for these many opportunities for us to hold and make history holy.
Yours in love, Rev. Sandra
Chalice Lighting for November’s theme of Holding History
Who have you lit your home chalice with? Who will you light it with? Your cat? Your dog? Your loved ones around the table? Robin Slaw, masters level DRE at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Maryland; a soul matters congregation, created this chalice lighting to share with us.
We hold history when we light our chalice.
We allow the memory of loved ones to guide us,
to comfort us in times of trouble,
to bring us joy in remembering.
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,
we square our shoulders for those who follow,
to stand on our shoulders and move the work forward.
We hold up the painful parts of our past,
remembering the times people were marginalized,
promising to do better when we know better.
We recognize the impact we have on those who follow us,
just as we have been impacted by the actions of those who came before,
holding awareness of the earth and all her creatures.
We light our chalice to hold the history of what came before,
what will follow as history yet to be created,
and to shine our light brightly in our world.
by nadine j. smet-weiss
born of egg
pierced by sperm
and the hopes
of our ancestors
the ongoing story
sounding through us
to honor their legacy
being the change
becoming the dream