31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
December 23, 2018
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
I wasn’t completely truthful when I told the kids that there are 30 angels in our church because that doesn’t include the angel who in addition to being our Family Promise Coordinator, is also a faithful supporter and fundraiser for the Men and Boys’ Fund as well as Prudence Crandall and their work with victims of domestic violence.
Thirty does not include two angels who send emails, texts, and cards full of spiritual inspiration and wisdom to myself and I swear half the world.
Nor does it include the angel who taught a first grader to read at Family Promise last week, who mentors at a local elementary school, who continuously invites others to use their gifts in service to the world even as she tirelessly and generously gives to others.
Did I mention the angel who is president of her youngest child’s nursery school, PTA president of the older two’s elementary school, runs the school reward store, is the official 4th grade copy person, and is currently hosting Jesus’ birthday party for 20 sugared up kids?
And then of course, there were the angels some of them in their fifties, sixties, and seventies who slept at church last week, on a cot, so families, like little Jojo’s, whose father moved them from Florida and then abandoned them one night in a hotel, could have a safe, warm, welcoming, loving place to be.
Then there are the church angels who brought God’s love and peace to me in the last week – the person who texted me prayers as I walked through a difficult time of pastoral care, the person who offered a hug and a supportive shoulder, the angel who literally brought a second angel for the church front yard, the angel who dropped their own work and life to come get my child off the bus and stay with him indefinitely so I could go to the hospital to be with a family in crisis.
Amazing, amazing angels all of them, as is the angel who volunteers with multiple community ministries that serve the homeless and I’m told drives around with a trunk full of supplies, in case any of “her guys” needs something.
These are the stories of just a few of the angels in our church community, and I share these stories not so you can be impressed with these special, wonderful people. I share these stories so you can see how their souls, their hearts, their hands magnify the Lord, how their work not only gives glory to God, their actions and deeds point to God’s amazing and unconditional love, how their actions and deeds point to God’s work, God’s vision.
Because that is what Mary’s beautiful declaration of praise is – a proclamation of God’s vision for God’s kingdom on earth.
Mary gives thanks for what God has done for her and Mary gives thanks for what God has done and is doing for all of God’s people.
I love the Message translation:
[God’s] mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. [God] knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. [God] embraced [God’s] chosen child, Israel; [God] remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what [God] promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now. (Luke 1:50-54)
While scripture says Mary spoke these words, the church has long believed that Mary broke out in song as she recited these words, and I can understand how that belief came to be, because the fulfillment of God’s vision is enough to make anyone break out in joyous song.
Imagine a day when all people are taken care of, where all people have enough to eat and a shelter over their heads, imagine a day when all people feel safe to just live their lives without worrying about gangs, gun violence, or tyrannical governments. Imagine children getting to play and wonder and rejoice without wondering who is going to pick them up from school or where they are going to sleep tonight.
Imagine God coming with mighty strength, pulling victims out of the mud, lifting up the lowly, filling the hungry with good things and heaping mercy upon mercy upon God’s beloved children. It’s better than any vision of God’s Saint Nicholas.
It would take a miracle, right? It would take a miracle for our world to ever look like that. Yes, it would take a miracle and that miracle is you! You are God’s miracle. Your life magnifies God and God’s vision for the world. Your life, your work, your actions, words, and deeds declare the greatness of God’s love. You are the angel God is calling to deliver a message of hope to the world. You are the one is and will be enlarging God’s good news of unconditional love, God’s good news of peace and justice, God’s good news of hope and possibility in a large, loud, mighty voice to the world.
God’s angels surround us every day as you bring hope, peace, love, and joy, joy! to the world.