December 20th 2015 With reference to Luke 1:39-55
What does a young woman do when she finds out she is pregnant in first century Palestine? – the same thing young women have done nearly every century since, at least until the 21st century – you go live with a trusted aunt.
Would there be room for her at home? Would she be welcome? What rumours would surround her? She lived in a land under Roman military occupation – anything could happen.
And yet in a situation of great vulnerability, she sees in the coming of this child, not the end – but the beginning. She sees the seeds of transformation. She sees God at work in this child, reversing the order of the world, bringing a rebalancing of power. Lifting up the powerless, deposing the powerful.
This is what her child taught and lived in his relatively short time among us. This child died a criminal’s death. But it is his birth we celebrate, not the birth of those who were in power in Jerusalem or Rome two thousand years ago.
This same land today is under military occupation, and with the same devastating effects of any military occupation – loss of land, loss of life, loss of human rights. Craig Travel advertises in the UC Observer for a trip to the Holy Land as – One land, Two people, Three religions.
That would be the most positive way to see it. But we have been learning over the weeks of Advent about the struggle and injustice that military occupation brings. It makes everyone afraid, Palestinians and Israelis, and they will always live in fear and anger as long as there are two different sets of laws, and Palestinians continue to lose their homes, their villages, their farms, their rights, even when the United Nations says this is all illegal.
The map of disappearing Palestine reminds me of the map of disappearing First Nations land in Canada over the past several centuries. That’s not a comfortable thing to say, because now I’m talking about my country. But if was are going to live our lives with the courage to love, we have to have the courage to see, even what we don’t want to see. That’s the only way we can change things.
How is it I wonder, that I have lived in this country all my life, but only became aware in this past year of the ridiculous portion of First Nations bands in Canada without clean drinking water? What truths have I been taught over the years that just don’t stand up in the light of day?
To quote words of wisdom from Star Wars: Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Yoda or Obi Wan Kenobi
May our view be widened to see the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the world, may we have the courage to not add to or benefit from the suffering of others, and may we affirm with Mary, that God is turning the world around. May we be a part of the turning, for the healing of humanity and the Earth itself. Amen.