When I read today’s scripture passage about staying awake, I can’t help but think back to last Advent, when I was 8 months pregnant. I don’t know if you know this—I didn’t until last year—but it’s nearly impossible to sleep well when you’re pregnant, or at least it was impossible for me. You can’t sleep on your belly anymore, everything aches, there’s this tiny person kicking you in the ribs all the time. During the entire third trimester, I’m not sure if I ever managed more than 4 hours of sleep at once.
Then, of course, there were all the other reasons to have trouble sleeping last year—a shocking presidential election, an increase in hate crimes around the country, concerns about Russia, an ever more divided nation.
My baby’s kicks might have been what woke me up, but the shock of fear and anxiety that I got from reading over my Facebook feed at 3:00 am is what kept me awake.
It hardly felt like a safe time to bring a child into the world.
(This homily was preached on November 26, 2016 at St. Hildegard Catholic Community. You can read the lectionary for this week here. There is also an abridged version of this homily posted on the Women’s Ordination Conference’s blog, where I will be writing weekly reflections throughout the Advent Season.)
So many times as a preacher, the lectionary has saved me. When I didn’t know how to give voice to the pain or rage or joy that was felt in my church or the world I would look at the lectionary readings and find that the assigned scripture for that week spoke to those feelings so much better than I ever could, that all I needed to do was let those ancient words speak for themselves.
This isn’t one of those weeks for me. I am so aware that this is the first time we gathered as a community after the shooting in Orlando, and I wanted readings that would give voice to the grief of having lost more LGBT people and people of color to violence. Or perhaps readings that would name the resilience and joy and life-among-ashes that is taking place in Pride celebrations all over the world—including our own San Francisco– this weekend. Or readings that could speak courage and love into to the culture of fear and divisiveness that is entrenched in our political discourse. Continue reading →
Rev. Christine regularly preaches at diverse faith communities including Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Church and Methodist churches. She also occasionally speaks universities, theological schools and faith communities about the intersection of Catholic faith, gender and sexuality.
See a list of upcoming preaching and public speaking dates. Contact us for information about scheduling her to preach at your church or community.
Below is a selection of homilies and sermons going back to 2010. All writings are the intellectual property of Rev. Christine Haider-Winnett unless stated otherwise. You’re welcome to quote any portion of these works, but please cite her.
When I was asked to preach at First Congo about my experience in the women’s ordination movement, the first thing I did (like any good Catholic) was turn to the lectionary to see what the gospel text for this week would be. And honestly, I was a little freaked out when I realized that the reading was on the Prodigal Son, possibly the least woman-centered reading in the Gospel of Luke.
I’ve always found it interesting that the Gospel of Luke doesn’t say why Mary came all the way out to that small town in Judea. All it says is that after the angel Gabriel told Mary that she and Elizabeth would both give birth to these world-changing babies, she set out with haste to see her cousin.