In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, in the midst of so many visits to family and friends (which can be a good thing or a not-so-good thing!), and in the midst of the busyness that so many church leaders are burdened with, we at Fig Tree Revolution want to share these wishes and blessings for you this Christmas.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?18Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (1 John 3:16-18)
It is my prayer that people be awoken to the chaos of the world and take it as an invitation to help create a new reality. It is my hope that people choose to do more than pray in the new year to see transformative change. It is hope we are greeted with joy in its many forms to serve as relief and fuel for the journey toward revolution.
Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9. We have to remember that the work we do is really not for other people--not the people we serve and advocate for, and certainly not those in authority, and even not really for ourselves. The work we do is to live out God's eternal calling on our lives in the best way that we can. Society measures and honors our accomplishments, but I believe that God honors our intentions, our effort, our commitment to truth and justice, and our integrity along the way.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 35)
My prayer for 2017 is that Fig Tree Revolution would ". . . plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right.” But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see." — Victoria Safford
Song of Songs 5: 1
I come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
I gather my myrrh with my spice;
I eat my honeycomb with my honey;
I drink my wine with my milk.
Friends of the Man
Drink, and be drunk with love!
Solomon described how he prepares to celebrate with friends in the presence of his love, getting ready for post-celebratory lovemaking. May the holidays offer you opportunity for the same!
"Where refugees seek deliverance that never comes
And the heart consumes itself as if it would live,
Where children age before their time
And life wears down the edges of the mind,
Where the old man sits with mind grown cold,
While bones and sinew, blood and cell, go slowly down to death,
Where fear companions each day's life,
And Perfect Love seems long delayed.
CHRISTMAS IS WAITING TO BE BORN:
In you, in me, in all mankind." - Howard Thurman
My prayer is that you will know the peace of God, the joy of the Holy Spirit, and the righteous anger of the Messiah this Christmas season. I pray that the world will know peace where there is war, comfort where there is sadness, well-being where there is poverty, liberation where there is oppression, humility where there is pride, and affliction where there is luxury. Merry Christmas!