Mourning and Dancing
By Brittani Bair
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
At 2:30 am the morning of November 9th, 2016 I turned off the Live CNN Election Results and cried myself to sleep. In the morning I realized I had held out hope longer than many. In fact, it still bothers me as I write this, that six precincts in Philadelphia have not reported and Michigan is only at 96%.
For some in our country, in our churches, and in our families, November 9th was a time to laugh and dance for joy. But for me, November 9th was a day to weep. Not only did the election not go as I had hoped, but a longtime pillar on our congregation, Tom Sherwood passed away on Election Day.
As I sat through Tom's funeral the following Saturday morning, it occurred to me how much I had been needing to grieve the events of the week. I needed to grieve not only the passing of such a kind and gentle person from our midst; who greeted me on Sunday mornings coming from youth Sunday school in the West tower to worship in the Sanctuary and handed me nearly 1000 church bulletins over the years; but I needed to grieve the other events of November 8th as well.
I pondered what it would be like to observe a funeral service for the dreams I'd been dreaming of for a woman as President of the United States, for better healthcare, for solace for refugees, for cleaner air and water and all the things I'd hoped Hillary would bring if elected. I felt truly blessed by Tom's funeral, which was a beautiful celebration of a life well-lived and also an opportunity to cry into my sleeve when Bill Johnson talked about Tom Sherwood handing out bulletins in that "second balcony" above.
As we move into Advent, a time of waiting for the Christ-child, let us take time to weep for what needs to be mourned, and dance for what needs to be celebrated. Let us prepare to fight when it is time to defend others and embrace our fellow Americans when it is time to come together. Let us give a handshake and a word of welcome at the door when it is time to enter worship. And when Christmas finally arrives, may we be prepared to welcome Jesus into our hearts anew.
God of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, grant us each of these blessings during this time of Advent waiting. May this time ready us to be transformed by the baby in the manger. Amen.