Yesterday was World AIDS Day. A day to remember, to reflect, to cry, to reach out in support, to be angry.....all of those emotions and actions (and more) can encompass this day to not forget that a deadly disease remains among us. It is a day to fight against complacency and to draw national and international attention that this epidemic is not over.
Falling at the beginning of the "Holiday Season" is a good time for WAD to exist. All the stores have their holiday decorations up (and have for some weeks now), with many having ethereal angels hanging gracefully, blowing their horns. Stores have logos like "Believe" or "Give". Having become a much more secular holiday than a Eucharist to celebrate the divine becoming human, these angels are much safer-secular representation of this season.
And yet, Jesus talks about the resurrection being like an age where things are so very different, where we will be like angels and are children of God. Now that is not a secular image. The imagery of being like angels and being children of God makes those secular angels into something else for me. Each and every one of them are a representation of someone who has died from AIDS or is living with HIV or AIDS. Each of those secular angels can be like a candle glowing ever-steadily as a reminder of those we have lost and those who live on. For they are like unto angels and are children of God.
Light a candle in your heart today, remembering someone you know who died of AIDS. Light a candle in your heart today, naming it for someone who is living with HIV or AIDS. If you think you do not know a person who falls into one of those two categories, than light a candle in your heart to support those who have died or who are blessed to be living on. Light another candle in your heart to remember that this disease is still present and a great risk to all of us. By doing so, we not only remember and honor these folks who are like angels and children of God, but we are saying that we too are like angels and children of God, all standing in solidarity together.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.