Sunday, January 1, 2017

An Ubuntu Homily from Christmas in Christ Chapel 2016 (Brian E. Konkol)

The following homily was presented at Christmas in Christ Chapel 2016, "Ubuntu, Jesu: From the Cradle of Humankind to the Ends of the Earth".

Christmas in Christ Chapel is an annual community worship celebration, which takes place in Christ Chapel on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College during the first weekend the Advent Season. 

This year's gathering, which included five separate services and over 350 student particiapants, welcomed over 5,000 people to campus and thousands more viewed online. 

The full video of Christmas in Christ Chapel 2016 can be viewed at

My full interview on the Christmas in Christ Chapel 2016 theme can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/gustavusadolphuscollege/videos/10154972003054248/

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"An Ubuntu Homily"

We gather around a word.

A word that is challenging to translate.
A word that is difficult to embody.

"Ubuntu."

As an expression, Ubuntu states that “a person is a person through other persons”. As a conception, it proclaims the conviction that “I am because we are". As a way of being, Ubuntu recognizes that, if you wish to go fast, you can go alone. But if you wish to go far, you must go together.

This notion from the African continent provides a timely and tremendous lens for us to celebrate the birth of Jesus, for we are indeed people who are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality and tied together in a single garment of destiny.

For in the here of this chapel and in the now of this moment, we affirm “Ubuntu, Jesu” and we boldly connect the incarnation event with the totality of all that exists.

From our common creation to our temptation for alienation…
From our celebration of the incarnation…
To our common call to proclamation…

We worship the God made known in Jesus 2,000 years ago, who continues to impress upon our identities and impact the fullness of our lives.

Like the days Emperor Augustus issued a decree…
Like the moment the angel declared Glory to God…
Like the instant Joseph and Mary had their fears relieved, and…

Like the first Noel, when a child was born, and nothing ever would be same.

Here and now, we worship, through song, through dance, and through the spoken word… Infused with a “word of God made flesh” that gathers around us. Here and now, we gather to hear how the holy “I am” continues to break into the “we are” of the world. Here and now, we gather once again to be reminded that, in Christ, we do belong to each other, and we do need each other to become ourselves.

And we worship this God together, not to deny or escape the darkness of our world, but to see it and bring light into it.

Because this is the Good News.

This is the Good News that touches every corner of the globe…

From Haiti to Holland to the United Kingdom…
From Germany to Guatemala to Guyana…
From Sweden to South Korea to South Africa to St. Peter…

“From the Cradle of Humankind to the Ends of the Earth”

Here and now…
Are.

Because…
Here and now.
Jesus is.

From the center to the margins… From our thoughts to our actions…
From the Cradle of Humankind to the Ends of the Earth…

Ubuntu, Jesu. Ubuntu, Jesu.

Today and always.

Thanks be to God. Amen.