Barefoot Reconciliation in Wisconsin on Transfiguration Sunday

8 03 2011

I preached this morning’s service barefoot.

I don’t usually do so, but this morning the dance theater group enacted 2 Peter 1:16-21

which lead directly into the meditation.

We were all barefoot, so there I was proclaiming the gospel as I had received it.

It is a vulnerable thing to stand barefoot before 200 people.

It is a vulnerable thing to preach a word you’ve received from G-d.

It is a vulnerable thing to speak the heartache and fear you hear in your neighbors’ voices and see in friends’ faces.

It is a humbling challenge to risk trying to sculpt an image of divine hope out of stony realities.

But, this is Transfiguration Sunday – a day of light and dark, of revelation and reality.

We recognize light and dark only in relation to one another.

By their contrasts they are revealed.

We have a habit of presuming that the light is good, right and holy.

We have also given in to a bad habit of associating the dark with everything else.

We want to take sides.  We want to be on the side of all that is light.

Not like…those people.

We take sides, presume we are on the side of light,

and separate ourselves from the other, the dark, the different.

We have learned our bad habit from the Greeks and their binary divisions:

light and dark, good and evil, male and female, spirit and flesh…

We have forgotten our Hebrew roots.

The Jewish tradition knows better than the Greek that while G-d separated light and dark,

together they made one day, and G-d saw that it was… “good.”

We forget that good news is not about taking sides against each other, even the side of light.

The good news of G-d’s message in Jesus is reconciliation!

Reconciliation brings together that which is separated.

God didn’t call the light “good” and the dark…something else.

Dark and light together make a whole day “and it was good.”

We are in need of some good news, aren’t we?

The past three weeks here in Wisconsin have been filled with

anxiety and anger, fear and resentment, betrayal and embarrassment.

Some fear for our state budget, some for our schools,

Some are anxious about their jobs, their health care.

Some have heard and some have said hurtful things.

Some have lost friends and some feel simply lost.

But G-d of Transfiguration is a G-d of change who is calling to us on that mountaintop.

Calling us up the mountain to remember the way of the prophets.

Calling us back down to the valley of everyday life.

Calling us to cherish the dark and revel in the light.

Calling us to be reconciled.

Calling us to love our neighbors –

regardless of whether they are union members, tea party fans, retired folk, students, wealthy or unemployed.

The dark and light need each other like we need to be reconciled to one another and to G-d.

The dark by itself is hopeless.  The light by itself is frivolous.

We need the good news of reconciliation for the sake of our communities and for G-d’s sake.

The past weeks in Wisconsin have also revealed the dark of division and the light of burning anger.

But I believe that most people in Wisconsin want efficient government.

I believe that most people want businesses to thrive.

I believe that most people want strong schools.

I believe that most people want fair wages and benefits.

I believe that most people want fairness and justice.
We don’t know how our elected officials will reconcile the budget.

We don’t know how G-d will reconcile all of us.

But I believe we are called to the work of reconciliation.

Reconciliation requires that we leave the mountaintop for the valley.

It requires that we leave the light of G-d for the sake of the dark of G-d.

We discover the good news of reconciliation amongst us

when we love the other,

when we risk being vulnerable,  bare feet and all,

and G-d calls it “good.”




2 responses

16 10 2012
Lynn Gardner

Hello~ I am a Unitarian Universalist minister, preparing for a service titled “the bumpy road to reconciliation” and I’d like to know if I can have permission to use the tree image… (if you are the person with copyright.) thanks so much! ~ Lynn

13 12 2012

The image is not mine to grant permission for other use.

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