Saturday, December 22, 2012

Letter to Prison... Vol. 1, No. 2

The holidays are upon us.

Zachary will be visiting with us until Christmas Eve. I’m not sure if you and his mother are in contact, but at the end of November, Zachary had the two rods in his right leg removed. His orthopedic surgeon put a leg brace on his leg to keep him from too much activity. He will be wearing it until after the first of the year. It causes him to walk like a little tin soldier. It slows him down. That was the intent.

I became rather melancholy last evening thinking about where and what we were all doing last year at this time. Do you remember? Things can and do change in the blink of an eye. Just look at the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Those poor parents are now burying their children, rather than watching them in a school Christmas pageant. I cannot begin to imagine their grief and their loss.

It makes me want to scream and shout and rail against God about injustice.

But I will not. I will instead find ways to do 26 acts of random kindness to remember and celebrate the life of each of the victims. I did my first one just the other day. I purchased Simalac formula and two boxes of cereal and gave it to the local food pantry. I also gave six packs of baby wipes that we’ve had since your son had need of them. I cannot help but think of families with infants who might not be able to afford such simple items.

I believe that Christmas is about forgiveness.

It is about a God who became incarnate to walk among us, to reach out to us as we walk our individual pilgrimage of humanity. As we walk our individual paths, our feet become dirty, filthy. That is when this God-Man girds himself with a towel and lovingly begins to wash our feet. Like his follower Peter, we can say, “No, I will have no part of this!” It’s always about choice, isn’t it? In the end, Peter asked for an entire bath! He just didn’t “get it”. When we are “his” we are clean, but we walk in this world and our feet get dirty. It was the lowliest servant’s job to clean the feet of the visitors to the home. This was so the filth of the world didn’t contaminate the house.

Not only was he born in a stable with stinking, smelly animals, he reduced himself to a servant status to show us the way. A better way. When Jesus washed their feet, he was performing an act of forgiveness. If you were here this Christmas, I would wash your feet… then I would set the table with bread and wine and ask you to share communion with me… with us… to come to the table to which the Christ child has lovingly prepared.

I believe that Christmas is also about love.

Love isn’t always about getting “what we want”. Sometimes, often times it is about getting what we need. Love came down to us at Christmas.

This coming year I will be striving, endeavoring to minimize my life in preparation for retirement and better living. It isn’t about how many possessions we have; it is more about how the possessions have us! It is about how much care they require, how that keeps us from fully and completely living. It is my goal to live with less and to give more. I desire to give more of myself, more of my time and more of my talents and pour them out as an offering to the community at large.

I pray for the blessing of anger; anger at injustice, oppression and the exploitation of people. I pray that I may be a vessel that can be used to work for injustice, freedom and peace. I find I can no longer say I am a Christian and quietly live in a home, locked away with possessions and be content without looking and working to eliminate the above conditions.

Love, from your Mother

Psalm 77:11
The Message (MSG)
11-12 Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
    lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I’ll ponder all the things you've accomplished,
    and give a long, loving look at your acts.