Joyful defiance

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. -Philippians 4:4



I would like to invite Rainbow Mennonite Church congregants and perhaps the wider Mennonite Church body to become a sea of pink as we begin the third week of Advent. Why?  Liturgically speaking, the third candle of a traditional advent wreath is pink, a color that symbolizes joy or rejoicing. I love that within the Advent season of waiting and fumbling around in the often overwhelming darkness, we have this momentary breakthrough, this momentary splash of brilliant color.

There is another reason I’m all about pink this week.  This Sunday marks a special moment for my friend Theda Good and for the church she serves, First Mennonite Church of Denver, CO. Theda, who is openly gay, will finally be recognized by the larger Mennonite denomination for her gifts of ministry. I say “recognized,” but we all know we have a ways to go before the church as a whole will rejoice with Theda. Too often momentary breakthroughs of brilliant pink light are snuffed out by ongoing discriminatory policies and practices.

May this not be the case for Theda, and for the many who follow in her footsteps.

So yes, as we light our joyfully non-conforming pink Advent candle this week, I will be dressed in pink and I hope I’m not the only one.

And as we contemplate the words prophet Mary sung long ago (Luke 1:46-55), I can’t help but think of the Magnificat as its own joyfully defiant song that broke through the dark night of hatred, greed, and oppression. I can’t help but think of the strong people of God who continue to sing joyfully defiant songs of hope, peace, and resistance in the face of oppression and fear. May we follow suit, building our own joyfully defiant, non-conforming muscles and voices.

In case you need yet one more reason to wear pink on the third Sunday of Advent, check out this BMC video of these joyfully defiant, singing, pink-wearing Mennonites. Let’s keep becoming that joyfully defiant sea of pink, let’s keep working for and welcoming those momentary flashes of brilliant color, undying joy.





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