THIS YEAR NEEDS ADVENT
Needs a keeping space
Of silence and of darkness nearing down,
Someplace where all that can be still is stilled
And everything but hope and fear are gone,
Where there is less of me and more of grace.
There in the waiting moments you have willed
Likes healing for an often-wounded soul,
The deep recovery of who I am
Where every whispered longing to be whole I ever breathed
Is finally fulfilled.
“…less of me, more of grace ..” That’s a prayer I pray as well this season (in continuity with an ongoing life long prayer!). I signed up and encouraged our church to sign up for the Advent Conspiracy as well (hope their website which is currently down will resume healthy operations soon) . I thought it was timely. Both, the desire expressed above as well as the practical stuff through Advent Conspiracy.
It’s good to have an associate pastor and fellow co-worker who appreciates the significance of the church year. Naomi and I talked about the educational aspect of Advent last week. And I was delighted to see the altar decorated with a new blue cloth (we thought it would be good to keep purple for Lent) and a special Advent candle stand with the four blue candles for each Sunday and one white one for Christmas. I think practices like this doesn’t make us archaic, rather the ancient gems from Christian history is retrieved and even redeemed to enrich our worship.
I think it’s very much in line with the call to worship more (one of the 4 calls) in the Advent conspiracy. Authentic worship surely is one antidote to the disease of overdose consumerism especially during this season. Ezekial, our very own BLC 9 year old lit the first candle today. Next week we’ll be having a combined worship service with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, so we still have two more after that which other kids can participate. I love the chance we can involve our children as much as possible in the acts of corporate worship. Whether it’s at least in the songs or symbolism. Once upon a time, I frowned upon all this as ritualism, and I’m well aware of it’s dangers. But nowadays, our corporate worship has been poorer when we throw away the good with what we see as abuses.
“… less of me, more of grace …” So many Christians are full of themselves, we are full of our own complaints, full of our own doubts, full of our own concerns, full of our frustrations, disappointments, criticisms, etc. Even when, some of what we talk about is legitimate. Without grace, it’s just a clashing cymbal and a loud noise (even if it’s silence) that’s plain full of ourselves. We miss the chance to create space for grace. Grace offered by others. Grace offered even by the church. And surely Grace offered by Jesus during times like this. Yes, we maybe wounded … and what we need is healing … not licking our wounds without a vision for health. I believe this Advent can becomes a season of healing more than a festival of shopping.
A time for cleaning up some of the “shit” in our lives. Guarding against gathering unnecessary “stuff”. Being open to the coming of the “Savior” … preparing room for him to dwell. And I suppose after all is said and done, that’s when we are truly at home when He’s at “Home” with us … one who’s full of grace and truth.
The desert is a soul searching place. And there we do confront our demons. But nothing beats “Home” where we can find ourselves again. To all who have lost the sense of who they are, let’s hear the voice in the wilderness calling out … “prepare the way” … perhaps, to contextualize for dry souls in the desert … let’s make room for the one who is to come.