The festival of Hanukkah began at sundown last evening. During our intercessions at evening prayer I asked our brothers to remember our elder sisters and brothers in faith, the first children of Abraham.
Throughout my travels of discipleship in secular life and now religious life, I have been graced with the friendship and fellowship of many -- Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, and others of no religion -- who strive mightily toward the purification and rededication of our world for full life -- for life lived in praise of the divine glory and service of neighbor. For life lived as praise and service. These friends inspire me with their determination to keep covenant with God through their concern for the neediest among us. I am grateful for the good they bring to their communities. I love them not because they are always the most politic or civil or sensible or orthodox. I love them because they are righteous.
They have an everlasting light, and their light shines within them, but it does not shine for their pleasure or on account of their merits. They have an everlasting light because they understand that the light shines for others.
Let us give thanks for the women and men who, by the help of the Spirit of God, find it very easy to be true to life. Let us give thanks that they willingly consecrate themselves to the work of illuminating a world worthy of consecration. Let us give thanks that divine justice and divine mercy live in the many who dare today to die before faith, and thus all life, should perish. Let us give thanks, in them, for the light that lasts longer than we can dream.
To my friends who observe Hanukkah, may the blessings you know in your life overflow to bless your loved ones, your community, and our world. To all, have oil within you, that you may burn long and bright.