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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

“The Work of Christmas” and the Anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee

1467224_603798309689997_570419739_nI have really been moved by this congregation’s passionate commitment to her ministry with the Lakota people of Pine Ridge Reservation. I will always remember as a moment of deep connection with the Congregational Church of West Medford–the presentation given at the Medford Library by the volunteer team of their first volunteer/mission trip to “Remember”. It was one of the first times I got to see that for which the congregation stood. Most significant for me was the passion and activism expressed by the team for correcting the horrible injustices experienced by Native Peoples at the hand of our nation. Taking action feels like the perfect message for this post-Christmas moment.

This First Sunday after Christmas is a ‘funny’ liturgical Sunday. While we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas which takes us to Epiphany and the scriptural arrival of the Wise Ones from the East our consumer oriented culture instantly closes the door on Christmas and moves to the next money making holiday. (Yesterday I went to the Rite Aid to get some milk and medicine and while I wanted for my prescription perused the store only to discover a Valentine’s Day aisle!?!)

My favorite “Holy Text” for this liturgical Sunday is Howard Thurman’s poem “The Work of Christmas.”

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

Thurman’s poem speaks for itself and gives us a beautiful ‘call’ to take the arrival of Jesus, God-with-us, Emmanuel–out of the manger, out from the pile of gifts under the tree, out of the pretty decorations and carols and into the world in the form of loving action that seeks care and justice for all.

When the Pine Ridge Ministry Team asked me about using this Sunday’s worship to educate about and honor the December 29th Anniversary of the Massacre of Wounded Knee–it was easy for me to say yes. What better way to do the ‘Work of Christmas’?

I pray that you will join us for worship. If you are not able to be with us, I pray that you will go to the web site listed below to sign the “No Medals for Massacre” petition that is one simple way to do the work of Christmas.

Call To Action:  Sign the Petition!
No Medals for Massacre: Justice for Wounded Knee Killings of Native Americans!

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