Why are you weeping?

Small bells, made for children’s hands, clamored joyously from the front of the sanctuary as the congregation sang a simple hymn about knowing Jesus loves them. The sound was effervescently exuberant, melding magically and shining brightly despite a bit of discord in the melody. The kids, ever hopeful, were making a joyful noise for those they loved, bringing a peace that only children seem to know how to bring.

It brought to mind the old English Christmas carol that goes:

“Ding Dong! merrily on high, in heav’n the bells are ringing.
Ding, dong! verily the sky, is riv’n with angel singing
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis”

 ~ George Ratcliffe Woodward “Ding Dong Merrily on High”

Some would argue there is a stark juxtaposition between the season of Advent and the season of Lent, especially the solemnity of the week preceding Easter Sunday. But we can’t celebrate Easter without Christmas, and Christmas can’t be celebrated if Easter is not looked towards as well. Besides, the colors are there, the dazzle is there, and the joyous noises are there, even in the quiet moments.

The four themes of the Advent season are there as well…..

But then, there is also the question that is asked, in the beginning of the story of this Easter day. It was asked long ago, on that first Easter morning.

Woman, why are you weeping?

~ John 20:15

The woman, Mary, was weeping because she felt forlorn. Though it was Jesus who asked her why, she did not recognize him. He had not been revealed to her. She was crying because of her grief. She was crying because she did not understand. She was crying because her world, indeed everything she knew, was gone. Though the one for whom she was weeping for was standing in front of her, she could not see him.

Joy had withered to dust.

Peace had been broken.

Hope was lost.

Love was dead.

Like Mary, we weep too. Like Mary, we don’t recognize the quiet humanity that can be revealed. We weep because we can’t see the magic of life though our fears, our worries, our burdens. It is hidden from us because of too many unknowns, too much hatred, too many things that obscure the light of it.

Joy can crumble.

Peace gives way to strife.

Hope disappears.

Love is just a myth.

We live currently in a world where laws are being put up to marginalize certain sets of the population. We live in a society where children are planning escape routes from schools just in case. We live in a nation where tales of economic disaster and divisiveness and constant vitriol seem to be the norm.

We weep because of all of these things.

But the magic is still there. The things we wish for, they are there too. After all, the bad news, all of those things we weep over, those aren’t the only kind of news there is in the world. We have good news to tell too. We have stories full of life and magic.

Joy is around us, undeterred by despair.

Hope can be found, even in tragedy.

Love encompasses in defiance of divisions.

Peace abounds, despite turmoil.

All of those are there, in the story that was written so long ago. All of them are there still, in the stories of our lives that we choose to write today.

May we open our eyes to recognize that we still have faith in humanity, believe in news that is still good, and have the wisdom to see the magic, even in the mundane. May we be like the little children who stood on the stage in front of the sanctuary, caring not that they were making noise…. but caring that they had something full of peace, love, joy, hope and magic to share.

Stay magical.

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And as always, #writeyourownstory

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