Welcome Advent

This season of year is filled with anticipation, wonder, and a certain tension that stirs one’s inner Spirit. Stories are told reminding people to keep a watchful eye to see the arrival of good news to relieve a stressed and pain-filled world. Stories are told from different perspectives – there are visiting angels and emboldened shepherds – there are faithful wise men traveling by the guidance of a star and kings whose insecurities destroy families and alter generations.

We hear of dreams. Dreams that speak of hope and light in dark and unsettling times. To discover this hope, life-changing journeys must be taken. These journeys were both on foot and in the heart. A willingness to say “yes” transforms the life of a girl into a mother of a baby boy – a boy whose presence would shake earth’s foundation.

In Advent we are reminded to pay attention to details. Advent’s stories are told every year but their details can speak to us in different ways when told in new times and places.

Spend time with these stories, listening for their wisdom in this time and place. Insightful, inspiring, and at times disconcerting may we hear these familiar words ready to live God’s good news in a time when truth is losing value and trust is hard to find.

May God’s face shine upon you.
May God’s hope bring you wholeness.
And may you walk this day towards the light of a small star. (d365)

Here is the world

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For the last two weeks this country’s news and news from all over the world has drawn our attention to tragic stories of people’s lives being changed forever through senseless, selfish, angry and disturbing acts of violence. Violence that has caused death and life-changing injury.

Wait… did I not write about this three weeks ago, last month and the month before that?

No need to be flippant. Everyone is aware of the tragic state of affairs in this country and the dangerous anger rampant in our world. We may not all agree on what to do but many of us are certain that something needs to be done.

We are in the season of Advent. On this second Sunday, the prophets call out for preparation and repentance. May we look upon our world for all its beauty and its danger moving forward with fearless compassion. May this movement be as prayer. Called to repent, instructed to prepare – may we seek to find the points of light streaming through the dark clouds before us. Light that brightens a path to peace and safety.

Oh Tender Mercy,

Dawn upon us this morning,
Break into the shadows of death
that seem to be overwhelming
the many worlds in which we live, and those in which we don’t that surround us.
Oh Tender Mercy,
We pray for those
who are in mourning,
who grieve,
who are suffering in the desolation of loss,
who are drowning in the pain of the senselessness of violence.
Bring forth the light of hope to hold them as they sit in the shadows.
In silence and word, we offer prayers for those we know who are struggling: (silence)
O Tender Mercy,
Break upon us with your dawning,
Guide our feet with the strength of our prayers,
to walk in the ways of peace with action,
to do what we can do as your people
to pave ways of peace wherever we go.
O Tender Mercy,
Your dawn is new every morning,
and we are grateful the points of light in our lives, in the midst of the shadows around us. Your love prevails.
O Tender Mercy,
Break forth among and within us.
Amen.

(Sunday Prayer Advent 2c RCL from RevGalBlogs  )

O Come…

Something wonderful is coming this way. Each year at this time, when the ancient calendar turns, and the crisp wind blows, I feel the satin-winged angels flying through the star sprinkled night, to herald the advent of a new beginning. That is what I claim for our lives: that new beginning, that sacred start to a life renewed. Something wonderful is coming to you, to me, to all the world. No hurt or harm can hold back the healing: they must give way, yield to the power of mercy, and let the angelic chorus fill the sky with songs of hope, singing for you, singing for me, singing for the sheer joy of singing. Something wonderful is coming this way. (Bishop Steven Charleston – 2014)

Advent after Advent

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“It is while waiting for the coming of the reign of God- Advent after Advent – that we come to realize that its coming depends on us. What will we do either hasten or slow, sharpen or dim our own commitment to do our part to bring it.” Joan Chittister, the Liturgical Year.

(picture and quote found – ACTS)

To begin… again

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Saint Michael and All Angels – #radvent

We are three days into the season of Advent. This past Sunday was the beginning of a new year on the Christian calendar.
We have come full circle. Returning to our opening chapter in the second book. All that has led to ‘now’ roots us deeply in the Hebrew story. Shaken by a call to stay awake and watch, it is time to clear the mind and heart so we can pay attention with as little distraction as possible. It is time to remember how this journey began.
Keep alert for angels will visit and the lull of daily life will soon be tipped off balance.
Something new will be growing, once again.
Keep alert.

 

 

the practice of waiting…

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“Waiting, waiting, waiting. Our spiritual lives are a vigil of waiting. We wait with hope for the advent of God. Yet as we wait for God, God is already here with us. And we are with God, yet not fully so, and so we wait, living with paradox and expectancy. Spiritual transformation never ends…it is always new, forever beginning, constantly evolving..”

Yesterday we celebrated Thomas Merton’s life and remembered his wisdom. He was an honest seeker – sharing his struggles and inspirations. In this season of waiting – may these words inspire our own time of reflection and quiet.

Hope in the darkness

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The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of God’s peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace ” (A New Zealand Prayer Book)

This prayer seems oddly fitting for the close of Advent’s first day. We are prepared on this first Sunday to stay alert as the dance between light and darkness swirl in tension before us. In the time of winter when nature’s light wanes, we live in the shroud of night. A time to seek safety and warmth – to hold the promise of light close to our hearts.

Advent is filled with words and images soaked in the hope for morning. God enters this world, lantern held high, calling for all to draw near. A lantern bright enough to shed light on the whole world.

For now we will hear about the coming of this lantern bright- encouraged to live in hope and directed to prepare. Night continues to be dark. May our fears rest in God who is always near. May we look ahead, grateful for the gift of hope and faithful to prepare for the birth of a new day,