Sunday, November 25, 2012

This is my New Year's Eve. It is the final Sunday of the liturgical year, Christ the King Sunday, last Sunday of ordinary time for another whole year. Christians who observe the liturgical calendar recognize that this is the last Sunday before Advent, when churches begin their 4-week time of preparation for the coming of Jesus into the world of reality (however you understand THAT) also known as Christmas.  Yeah, so I'm slightly medieval and if you want to make something of it I'll meet you on Facebook.  After the bars close.

If you've checked in here on this site in the interval between my last post, dated August 28, of this year, and today, and wondered why there have been no posts until now, it is probably because I could not bring myself to record in even as ephemeral a form as a blog anything more "permanent" than a Tweet or a Facebook quip before the election of November 6.  The elections and the run-up to them took place in what the Christian church in the west often calls "ordinary time" which doesn't in this case mean "everyday" comes from the term "ordinal" from which we also get our words "order" and "orderly".  It's a way to "order" the teaching of the church in a way that allows preachers to organize the lessons they'll preach Sunday by Sunday in a long cycle dedicated to believers' spiritual growth.

If you're interested in politics at all, you might agree that there was little order during this time. The public discourse was as far as I have ever seen from orderly.

When we talk about the lessons that come to us from scripture, a lot of today's Christians are unfamiliar with the use of the Revised Common Lectionary or the Liturgical Calendar, and that's OK. I've come to realize that it's important to realize there are as many differences between liturgical Christians and non-liturgical Christians as there are between organic farmers and conventional farmers.  Still, both types of farmers recognize the need for order.

Liturgical Christians have certain observances pertinent to the seasons of the Christian calendar which are as important to us as the use of seasonal food is to the local farmer.  The Christian calendar denotes times of celebration, times of dormancy, and times of growth as surely as the seasonal calendar points out times of plowing, times of sowing, the time of incubation and growth, and times of harvest.  It also marks time of contemplation and reflection not dissimilar to those times the farmer might pore over seed catalogs or enjoy a well-earned nap.

One would think that the need for orderly thinking is at least as important to Christians as it is to farmers.

We begin this contemplative, reflective time now, as we enter the new liturgical year and set out on the run-up to Christmas called Advent.  It's a great time to think back upon the past 51 weeks and consider how we've done as people whose avowed purpose is to bring more love, light, and peace into the world.

As a politically active Christian, I'm buggered if I can say I've fulfilled that purpose.  I've fallen 'way short of my August goal of refraining from LMAO at right wingnut Tweets.  I confess that I can no longer label or self-identify as liberal, progressive, moderately left-of-center, dead-smack-in-the middle, or even vaguely interested in labels. I shudder that I have been as disorderly in thought and reflection as the most reactionary sound-byte-spewing, Fox-News-following rightie who wakes up on the morning after the election with a piece of the country's biggest up-all-night-tea-partying-and-lost hangover.

If the past few months were ordinary, I've seen enough ordinary. There's very little order or orderly about it.  Instead, if I were thinking about the New Year and my seed catalogs, er, that is to say, the preparation of my heart during Advent, I would think about the things we have been hoping for in the inner chambers of our collective hearts.

Equality.  Cooperation.  Respect. Figuring out ways to make the best outcomes possible for the greatest number of people in this country, and leaving no one out in the cold.  We're getting ready, after all, for the most truly extraordinary time of the year, and for THAT we need to be intentional about our goals and how to get there.

It takes a little order.

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