by Pastor Karen Brau
As a preacher that prepares by making notes and then mostly preaches extemporaneously, I have decided to try something new for the first quarter of 2019 — I will share some notes after I preach.
On Dec 30, 2018, I preached on Three Things for 2019: Contemplation, Action, and Invitation.
For the thoughts on Contemplation, I shared about my own experiences on Sabbatical of taking time for retreats that included silence and solitude. I also used the powerful book by Barbara Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, to expand our understanding of contemplation. This book gives ways of looking at Contemplation that moves from silence and individual practice to communal discernment practices. I find there is an application to the liturgical church as well.
For the thoughts on Action, I offered a reflection on resistance and on building movements as both being necessary today. I told the story of a Hockey Player from my college, Hamilton College, in Clinton, NY. Francis Baker was a member of the 1936 USA Olympic Hockey team. This young man stood up to an infuriated Adolph Hitler when Hitler stormed into a locker room after the opening Ceremony when all the Americans refused to salute him. As a college athlete myself, I am honored to be part of such a history. And, I used a recent New York Times by Michele Alexander entitled: “We are not the Resistance.” Ms. Alexander’s words put me in mind of a tweet that got my attention within the last 6 months — the practice to stay low and build. If we only resist, there is no preparation of leaders and efforts that change lives. I talked about wonder and power of the Beloved Community Incubator at Luther Place.
And finally, Invitation. I proposed that Invitation is a justice issue! I thank Francisco Herrera, M.Div. for this clear articulation in his blog: Evangelism, Hubris, and the Progressive Church. That is a new way of looking at something that makes Lutherans very nervous, inviting people to participate in our faith communities. But let’s reframe. People are actively invited into a Christianity that is used to spread toxicity instead of extravagant grace. So, alternatively, we have an opportunity to live into the justice of making invitations for a way of discipleship that can be meaningful, transformative and life-giving.
May you be blessed in 2019, and I pray that your faith is strengthened.
May you know you are beloved.