Power Pose. It was a suggestion that prior to going into a meeting to find strength and fortitude- raise up your arms, stand up strong and tall- strike that pose of power. Reading the gospel for this first Sunday in Advent I was reminded of the “power pose” when I heard, “Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Unafraid. Take that stand, that stance, that pose- stand up, raise your heads.
This isn’t instruction on how to be a poser. When there are the signs and people are fainting with fear and foreboding- do something different than that. Stand up and raise your heads. Now this is different than “posturing” that desire to be seen or perceived by others in a particular way. We live in a time where posing and posturing are used to portray certain images.
We have heard a lot from Jesus about the first being last and not grappling to be so important. So these instruction to stand up and raise your head is to live in a trust that redemption is drawing near. Our bodies communicate so much. When we pause to be intentional about our posture, our breath, our physicality we can take in, learn and experience the power that God has given to us. The Breath of Life is a gift that we often use unnoticed and without intention.
This Sunday as we start the season of Advent I want to invite you to consider tapping into the power that is the very presence of God in you This isn’t a form of posturing. This isn’t an invitation for you to impress or mislead anyone- to be the “big somebody”. This is an Advent invitation to tap into the power that has been given to you by God- for God’s sake.
You. You are a light for the world. You are called to let your light shine. You are a city on a hill. You are a light in the dark. The world needs hope and we are called and equipped to be bearers of the Light that brings hope to the world. The song in the video above came to mind when reflecting upon the Christ Light that lives in each of us and how we are invited to let it shine. We have sung that at camp over the years and it has become written on my heart.
Today we had a baptism at the church on a Saturday afternoon. An immunocompromised family member necessitated extra precautions for this baptism. The family are relatives of members and are here from out of town. The challenges in these covid times of keeping people safe and loving them right where they are- invites us to alter and change what we might have done before. With the influence and invitation of the godparents we got to extend a welcome to those who are seeking a way to belong and be connected. Rarely have we had baptisms outside of community worship. I wish you could have been there. So let me share with you what I heard, what I saw and how a single, simple word let light shine.
To keep it safe the three year old who had just had water poured on her head and her forehead anointed with oil was being held by her godfather so that she could be handed her baptismal candle. As I lit the candle I could see her light up. Her eyes locked into mine. I handed her the candle. She held the candle with great stillness and solemnity.
I spoke the words from Matthew’s gospel, “Let your light so shine before others Mackenzie, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Amen”. There was no prompt for her to respond, none of the rest of us had said anything. It was her. It was her amen that caused my eyes light up and fill with tears. She heard it- she took it to heart.
In this small, intimate, family gathering I shared with the family how this naming and claiming of their daughters in baptism can guard their hearts in times of doubt, fear, despair. Baptism isn’t a posing or a posturing- it’s power. God’s power is in us. In baptism we name this with water poured on heads in God's triune name; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We mark it and seal it with crosses placed with oil on foreheads.
Scripture is placed into the hands of parents to give to them the word of God, a word of life. We share the Spark bible with the families of infants and young children at baptism. In the bible I included the Faith5 bookmark. We went over what this faith practice looks like. It was the fifth practice of “Blessing” that I showed to Mackenzie before they left.
Taking her hand, I made the sign of the cross on the back of her hand and said ”God loves you”. I then asked her to take her mom’s hand and do the same. She did. When she made the sign of the cross on her mom’s hand saying, "God loves you" her mom's eyes filled with tears. Holy water. Blessed to be a blessing, letting our lights shine- these are the powerful moments that bring hope. The blessing she was given she shared. She let her light shine.
Today that Spark bible, that blessing a child spoke to her mom, that look in a three year old’s eyes and her unsolicited “amen” as she held that candle - that isn’t posing or posturing - it is power. Teaching one another how to pray, to bless, to generously share our love is to tap into this power we have been given. Do that.
As we start another church year my hope and prayer for you is that you will not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life. (Luke 21:34) Instead raise your heads and your arms and take in the deep breath of life. Do that power pose of the power of God within you. Let that light shine, shine, shine- you are the light of the world.