Pandemic Ponderings
of the General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley
December 20, 2021
Dear friends,
In this season churches all around the presbytery are brimming with activities, services of worship, cantatas and song, lament and remembrance, prayer, laughter, service projects, and candlelight. All this in service of communicating the central message of this holy season: A child is born. The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us. For God so loved the world!!
In the recent, sad loss of bell hooks – a pen name she chose for herself and chose not to capitalize, I have been prompted to think again about the deeper and social meaning of the, as the carol puts it, Love (that) Came Down at Christmas. bell hooks was a poet, social critic, feminist, and prolific author. She died about a week ago at age 69 after an extended illness. She writes in her 2006 book, Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, “Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose love we begin to move toward freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.  “I’m talking about a love that is transformative, that challenges us in both our private and our civic lives,” she said. “I’m so moved often when I think of the civil rights movement, because I see it as a great movement for social justice that was rooted in love and that politicized the notion of love, that said: Real love will change you.”
Here’s the link to the full article which I heartily commend to you in this season and into the new year ahead. It is an excerpt from Outlaw Culture: Love as the practice of freedom.
Cornel West is quoted as saying that justice is what love looks like in public. As we celebrate God’s indescribable love for us – and for all people – may we move into a new year with a deeper commitment to pursue justice so that all the people God came in Christ to save can live the life abundant he envisioned.
I will be leaving later this week to celebrate Christmas in Colorado with family. The presbytery office is closed from Friday, December 24 to Monday, January 3, 2022.
I am looking forward to all the places God will lead us in the new year!
As ever in prayer,
Sue Westfall

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