It is dark when I leave work in these winter days. In the early evening, the moon has not had time to climb to any great height. Last week, just after five, it hung just over the horizon as I drove east to the interstate: huge, full, golden in the night sky.
This song started to play in my head:
It glowed so bright, hung so low, that it appeared to be strung up, in some cosmic pinterest project. (I thought of the video for The Submarine’s “Fire,” which is apparently no longer available on youtube…)
That moon in the sky shone, a light in the cold darkness, breathtakingly beautiful.
A few weeks ago I had lunch with a member of our church, and I mentioned that my work in college and grad school centered around questions about what makes the good society, the good life. In some ways, those same questions drive my ministry. So, he asked, what makes the good society?
I surprised myself by how quickly I responded: How well we care for the vulnerable.
We talked about poverty and racism and how Christians might be called to respond, and I was happy that I’d managed to suggest that these were central concerns of the Gospel. Sometimes folks in the affluent suburbs forget.
But looking at the moon the other night, I was myself reminded that care for the vulnerable is not the only Christian value: there’s Truth, and Love, and Beauty.
This has been a devastating year in so many ways. This has been a devastating week: we are weeping with Aleppo, sending money when we can, longing for ways to intervene. But in the wake of the devastation, I’ve been thinking about our ideals: what do we believe and hold dear?
Truth sets us free. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. The Lord God created the world, and it is good: it is glorious. Golden and round and bright. Prepare to welcome the heaven born prince of peace, the sun of righteousness: light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.
Light and life, even on cold, dark, Advent nights.