With Quiet Contemplation

On the day after Thanksgiving, I walked through cemeteries. For many years, this has been my Black Friday tradition, as I like to begin the holiday season with quiet contemplation.

This year, my walk took me to the gravesites of spiritual ancestors in my hometown of Rochester, NY. As I stood before the graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass in Mount Hope Cemetery, I reflected on their legacy, offered gratitude, and renewed my commitment to the hard work of justice. Our own work might seem futile in the present, but takes on greater meaning in the long view of history.  We are part of something much larger than ourselves; each precious life has its place.

This month of December we reflect upon what it means to be a community of presence.  The great mystics of the world describe presence as a walk into the sacred dark. It is there in the place of unknowing that we discover the Holy, the Mystery of Being.  As we move into December, a season so prone to holiday frenzy, let us remember the rhythms of nature that call us into the shortened days and longer nights.  There is beauty to behold as we open our eyes and learn to walk in the dark.

This month, I will be away from the pulpit. Quieting my voice is essential as I turn inward to listen more deeply, to replenish the soul, to enter the sacred dark.  Clearing space is also important for me on a practical level as I write final papers of the seminary semester, and celebrate the holidays with my family. We will be part of the service on Christmas Eve, and I look forward to being with you then.

In the meantime, I invite you to find rituals that speak to you this season and offer you moments of quiet reflection. Light candles, watching the glow of flickering flames. Listen to choirs sing Alleluia. Sing. Pay attention to the words of a companion.  Sip slowly a cup of tea.  Turn to wonder and awe at a black sky filled with stars.

Peace and blessings be with you ~