Right now, we’re in the thick of the choice of what to do with difficult things to hear about broken relationships in our society. With the Harvey Weinstein scandals that led to the #MeToo movement, there’s a lot of new conversation about “-isms”: Racism, sexism, genderism, classism, etc. For some that topic is exciting and worth addressing. For others, the very mention of these isms turns the stomach. I find myself feeling both reactions!
It is that very misuse of power to which the story of Advent and the Incarnation point. The hope for a messiah was the hope for the balancing out of power. This hope asks an answer to the question, “In the face of violence, hate, and fear, where can love be found?” The One for whom we hope is one who teaches us to use power to help others. To restore broken relationships. To confront one another when we do something wrong, all the while seeing the dignity of God in the other.
If overcoming “isms” is the basis for the hope that is the origin of our beloved community, then it makes sense to explore how Jesus directs us to look closer at the hope that is in us. Through this we begin to find what love has to say about how to replace these “isms” with grace. I’ll be teaching a short Advent series in December exploring what love and grace have to say about power and how it is used.
1) Where is grace in our lives?
2) How are we givers of grace?
3) How are we receivers of grace?
4) Where is God in our relationships, especially in terms of how we share and use power?
5) God brings for us the ultimate source of grace in the most powerless way: a peasant baby in a feeding trough for barn animals. In what ways does this choice by God speak to how we see power?
Rev. Jeffrey A. Dodge