Just in time for that last minute re-write of our Christmas sermons or liturgies, I suggest we use the the Center for Disease Control’s list of banned words.
Yes, that’s right, policy analysts at the CDC, according to the Washington Post, were told there were seven words they were prohibited from using: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based.
And immediately, when the list was given out, a light appeared over the heads of many people of faith and religious leaders and new sermons and religious testimony began to take shape.
I suddenly began to read the great words of the Gospel of Luke on the birth of Jesus with new eyes:
Long ago on a starry night, a #vulnerable baby was born in a stable because of the #entitlement of the rich who had taken all the rooms at the inn. The #diversity of those who came to pay homage to the #vulnerable baby, who had grown from a #fetus, was great, including humans and animals. Then some angels, many of whom were #Transgender, told them all not to be afraid to use #bannedwords when they told the story forever after. And Mary pondered all the #evidence-based things she had witnessed in her heart, and she gave thanks for the goodness of God in giving them all brains to use science-based thinking to preserve the creation they had been given.
I was not alone in receiving this light of inspiration by the CDC. Reverend Susan Russell has composed a profound meditation on the Magnificat:
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones of entitlement
and has lifted up the vulnerable.
He has filled the hungry with good things —
like an evidence/science-based strategy to end global warming —
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of diversity,
the promise he made to our transgender siblings,
to Sarah and her fetus forever.
Lay Leader Sara Lee Macdonald has composed this prayer:
God we give thanks for the #Diversity of both flora and fauna and pray that by your holy guidance we may listen to the #Science BasedEvidence regarding #ClimateChange and for the protection of your Cathedral of Life. We pray for all the most #vulnerable among us, remembering the poor who do not seek #entitlements but assistance in which to live with dignity. We pray this day for an end to #genderexclusion and pray for the safety of our #LGBTAIA family members. Give courage to all #Transgender persons and all of us who navigate our way through this time of darkness and uncertainty. We ask this in the name of the God who is love and who loves all and not some. Amen.
And so, in being inspired by new reading and the words of these faith leaders, a sermon is forming in my head.
I would like to preach about the goodness of God in coming among us in the form of a #vulnerable baby. I would preach that this baby was born into a world of #diversity of plants and animals, and a human diversity that includes a range of genders, including #Transgender. I would preach that all of this marvelous #diversity is loved by God. I would preach about the sin of those who are so mired in #entitlement that they believe they can dictate what human beings can think and say. Their blind #entitlement is so great, in fact, that they believe they can deny the evidence of science that God’s creation is being systematically destroyed by their greed.
And I would proclaim that you cannot ban what is right, and true, and good.
And then I would invite all who wish to do so to sing:
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace and goodwill among people.