Farewell to the year just past! Days filled with good and less than good; hopes, fears; tragedies of fire, wind and raging waters. A year of senseless shootings, death, grief, broken hearts and still silence echoing an unwillingness to change in the face of such horror. So many still wonder where they will go or how they will live as they hear threats of being sent away, while others speak of walls instead of bridges and blame instead of compassion. We feel deep in our flesh and blood the divisions, the lost dreams and forgotten truths. There is a weariness in our collective spirit.
This New Year we need to “rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!” The melody of their song is the word of God planted on good and bad soil, the word of God made flesh and blood, bone and guts, mind and spirit. Humanity, our humanity, is made divine: a mystery to ponder, a truth to embrace as we “rest beside the weary road.” A mystery which makes all persons, in every place, of every kind not just neighbors but sisters and brothers to us and we to them — to all in every place and every part of this weary world! That truth, and acting toward others in that manner, changes everything, inspires hope and warms the human heart. It is music for the weary soul, a sound stronger and more beautiful than all the neglect and tragedy of the year past. The words of this angelic song are the words and deeds we have heard and seen. Words and deeds of mercy, care, presence, kindness and truth. Words and acts which are songs of hope and compassion for so many. A song we are singing!
During these days of Christmas we encounter Mary’s song from her homeless shelter. The scriptures tell us she remembered all the events of her day and reflected on them in her heart. So too must we. Mary’s song pleads with us to see light in the darkest night, to choose hope instead of fear, faith rather than doubt and mercy in place of judgement. Mary, Mother of the Christ, sings of fidelity in living faith not in isolation or just as an individual but with and among the universal community of believers. A song such as Mary’s opens our eyes to see and feel God’s presence.
The goodness of the human family reflects that loving presence. Like Mary we need to keep that melody in our heart as we rest beside the weary road. With the shepherds we can still praise God for all we have seen and heard, remembering that the Spirit of God’s Son still dwells in our human heart.
Then like those star-gazing dreamers who many will meet again on this Epiphany Sunday, we can choose “to go home by a whole new way.”
Music to ponder and feel as we rest beside the weary road and listen: The angels are singing ... again!