I appreciated what Karen said today about taking a stand against injustice and how difficult that can be. As John the Baptist did, we are called to speak truth about the gaps between our present world and God's dream for our world. Like Karen, I have been finding the news particularly hard to take recently - the racial tensions in the US justice system, and sexual harassment and violence against women in Canada as just two examples. There is profound injustice in our world - but it is hard to stand up to that. Very powerful people and systems have caused that injustice.
I am thankful for those who are willing to speak out - who find the strength to stand up to those who are often much stronger. And yet sometimes it is hard for me even to listen to those messages. It can be uncomfortable, as Karen said, or God's kingdom on earth can seem just so far away. I have heard the messages before, calling for action and justice... but that fair, equitable, loving world seems too impossible sometimes.
So that is how I am going to try to prepare my heart for the coming of the Christ child this year. To listen anew and to be open to stories I have already heard - both the good news of Jesus' birth, and the hope of those who are working to make this world a more just place. Maybe I will hear in a new way, and maybe I will be changed. And maybe that will be just a beginning step in this new church year in striving to realize God's kingdom here on earth.
"Courage, my friends - 'tis not too late to build a better world." - The Honourable and Reverend Tommy Douglas