The candles are ready but I'm wondering if I am.
For another Advent. Another New Church Year.
But ready or not, here it is: another New Year's Eve. Already.
Not the kind with champagne and silly hats and trying-to-stay-up-til-midnight-to-ring-in-the-New Year. There are no crowds in Times Square waiting for the crystal ball to drop. There are no floats lining up on Orange Grove getting ready to parade down Colorado tomorrow.
Nope. This is the kind of new year that sneaks up on you as the last of the pumpkin pie and stuffing is consumed and the turkey carcass that was the succulent centerpiece a few days ago inches closer to the soup pot. It's the kind of new year that starts not with revelry but with reverie. And it's the kind of new year that offers as its opening act the call to wait. To watch. To prepare. To make a way where there is no way. To hope.
“Advent is the season when Christians are called to live with more hope than the world thinks is reasonable.” That's what Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told us last year when she was with us at our Diocesan Convention during Advent.
A year ago. When everyone knew that "nothing would happen" at the upcoming General Convention because the bishops had "drunk the Lambeth Koolaid" and they weren't going to let the church move forward on bishops or blessings. And we who were working for the fuller inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments were wasting our time.
And here we are -- on Advent Eve -- with the announcement today by the Bishop Shaw that "in the Diocese of Massachusetts the clergy of this diocese may, at their discretion, solemnize marriages for all eligible couples, beginning Advent I. Solemnization, in accordance with Massachusetts law, includes hearing the declaration of consent, pronouncing the marriage and signing the marriage certificate."
And here we are -- on Advent Eve -- about to elect two new bishops suffragan for the Diocese of Los Angeles from a slate of six candidates ... a slate that includes a couple of exceedingly well qualified partnered "lesbigay" (to use a Louie Crewism!) clergy.
More hope than the world thinks is reasonable, indeed.
So maybe I am ready for it. For another Advent. For another New Year. Maybe we can actually make a dent in that awful legislation in Uganda. And get past the health care impasse here at home. Heck, maybe we can even work on climate change and building bridges rather than walls between our faith communities. And liberate some captives and proclaim good news to the poor.
Because this is the kind of new year we celebrate not with more champagne than is sensible but with more hope than is reasonable.
So Happy New Year to all ... and to all a goodnight!