Let’s rekindle the holy light and celebrate
From ancient times, people feared the waning of the light.
It was not merely superstition, a mistaken notion that the shortening day would engulf the world in darkness if they failed the proper rites.
Like us, they too knew times of loneliness, as if the light had been withdrawn.
Like us, they knew the split inside between what is and might have been.
They too knew the hiding, waiting to be found and feeling unworthy of being sought.
They too knew the poignant longing, expectation of the dawning from the dark night of the soul.
And so they conspired together to pretend that the gods had died or fled.
They asked the priests to prepare a feast that they might call the gods back to life, that sacred joy might again emerge and call them out of hiding.
Just so, they ate and sang. They called the food they shared the flesh of the gods; in sharing it, reached out to one another. And in their reaching, the sacred was reborn.
They called the music the voice of the gods, joined their voices in songs of praise and, in their singing, called each other out of hiding.
They kindled lamps and called this homemade flame the sacred light of truth and warmth and fellowship. And, in their kindling, let themselves be found.
They used the dying of the light each year, with the circling of the sacred earth about its star-sun, for a sacred necessary ritual.
Each year, they gave themselves at least one chance to be found again, to be reminded again that they were a chosen people, to discover anew that they had been paid for and no debt was owed. In this, their pretense of a resurrection, permitted their own joy to be reborn.
The sacred earth does circle its life-giving sun.
The light does wane. We do forget it will return.
We do hide in guilt and fear and loneliness from one another, and do so long to be found.
But the light has not fled. We have only closed our eyes.
What seemed to be hidden is in plain sight. Our fullness is here and available to us.
The gift of life, given, but waits our willing hand opened to receive it. It is found in being shared, And owned in being given away.
Let us, therefore, conspire together to pretend that the gods have died and been reborn in our shared feast. That our voice raised is the voice of the sacred recalling joy to life. That the kindling of the flame in our poor lamp is the light of truth and warmth and fellowship.
And in our pretending perhaps we may permit the sacredness that is our life together to be reborn. Under cover of our pretense, perhaps we may permit an outreached hand to find us and be found by us.
Let us, therefore, empty ourselves, knowing our vessels to hide no bottom.
Let us open ourselves, knowing there is nothing and nowhere to hide.
Let us celebrate the continual resurrection of life and joy and sacredness in our midst. And in the celebration let it rise.
The Rev. Mike Young is minister of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.