Spending time this Advent with Mary, and women in general, we can discover women are wise. Today’s Old Testament reading unfortunately begins with a fool, the warrior King David. He is feeling anxious because he is not currently laboring at killing, “the LORD has given him rest from his enemies.” The Gospel reading fortunately tells of a wise soul, the lover Mary. She is feeling at peace for she will soon be laboring at life. Mary is “full of grace” and soon, unto her, “a child will be born.”
Warriors will always be fools. After just one experience of waging war that strangles the life out of humanity, they keep deciding to wage thousands upon thousands of more wars. Over centuries and millennia warriors keep violating us and our humanity. At the same time, they keep foolishly believing their violence saves us. But their violence will never save us. Their violence will always damn us. Warmakers are always on a fool’s errand, one that cannot succeed. Warmakers are always engaged in a fool’s labor, one that is only futile. It is the foolish and futile labor of Sisyphus. Warmakers and all who support them are forever foolishly rolling a ball up a hill, laboriously so, to reach the pinnacle of their claimed success – violent domination through the defeat of their enemy. Only to realize war and its makers have no true point of success. For ad infinitum that point only causes the ball to roll back down again. It rolls back down over whoever is left and can be plundered further by war profiteers in contract bids for reconstruction. Warmakers move on to the next hill, rolling the ball up against the next enemy in the next war for the next war profiteers to reach that next point of false success. All the while, through all the ups and downs the warrior fools coax or expect our gratitude, our adulation for their foolish labor they errantly believe saves us. A different labor is needed. We need the labor of love that is carried out by wise peacemakers; by Mary, by Jesus. It is the labor of love carried out by all people who conceive peace and breathe life into being. It is the labor of love carried out by Diane Newell. She conceived of peace and breathed life into this world during the U.S.’s war against Vietnam. In April of 1965 Diane was a young woman studying at the University of Oregon. She labored for peace including at a march in which she pinned a simple and oh so wise handwritten note to her sweater. It read, “Let’s make love, not war.” Let’s indeed. Let’s spread Newell’s labor of love today as it was spread decades back. Newell’s picture and message appeared in the local newspaper, was picked up by the national press, and distributed across the U.S. Peacemakers in Chicago added it to their labor of love, a Mother’s Day peace event, the original intention of the day. On that spring day in May as Chicagoans were watching life come to birth, Newell’s wise message came to birth printed across thousands of buttons and t-shirts for their event, “Make Love, Not War.” We who are wise peacemakers continue to make love and we keep on making love in so many ways, in thousands upon thousands of ways over centuries and millennia so that peace is born in all the lands to all the people. Let this be our labor. It is not, as warriors need us to believe, a fool’s errand. Making love is a wise and glorious labor, like that of Mary, breathing new life to birth.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing. (Arundhati Roy)
Prayer: Spirit of life, may we bring to birth all that is wise, peaceful, loving.
Question: For who or what do I labor and thus am I breathing into birth?
December 20, 2020 Gospel Luke 1:26-38 Fourth Sunday in Advent