For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people …
— Titus 2:11
Grace call us into a humility that seeks to honor the grace of God to forgive and restore us. Grace calls us into a humility that seeks to honor the multiple relationships throughout our overlapping households or spheres of community. The training power of grace may be its capacity to illumine the image of God in another. We pray for God to give us God’s own love for the other when we recognize that our love is in dire need of grace. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: God Birthed Grace Upon The Earth …”
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
— 1 Cor 13:1-7
In Luke’s Gospel, it is the Jewish poor, the shepherds, who first see and recognise this birth as a manifestation of God in their midst. Perhaps this reflects the experience of Luke’s community and its emphasis on Jesus’ outreach to the marginal ones. In Mathew’s Gospel, it’s the Magi, these Gentile outsiders, who see a mysterious star and follow it. They recognise that the promises made to the chosen people are being fulfilled. How unlikely that they would be the ones to see and understand, while others who are much closer to the revelation are indifferent, or even hostile, to it. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Without Love …”
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
— James 4:6
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;
he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy,
and he will rescue them.
He will redeem them from oppression and violence,
for their lives are precious to him.
— Psalm 72:12-14
This is God at work, as God has been at work across the millennia, as God is at work even now – unfolding new narratives with, through, and among particular people who are others, outsiders to the assumed faithful. The good news that God bears through Jesus is concurrently jarring news, infuriating news to the temple stalwarts who push him, rush him out of the city to throw him headlong down the hillside (Luke 4:21-30). The good news is not the narrative they were used to, not what they expected from the living God, who had come once again to break through their calcified ways. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: A New Narrative …”
We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
— Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart
Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Widening Our Circle Of Compassion …”
Mary said, “behold, I am the servant of the Lord … “
— Luke 1:38
At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.
— Mother Teresa from Love: A Fruit Always in Season
God Among Us
Imagine how joyful life might be if we could simply place our anxieties in God’s hands knowing with confidence that God would take care of us. Yet, how does God take care of us if not through the kindness of others? As Christians we are called to act kindly and tenderly in our world, and this very kindness invites the presence of God among us. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Everybody Can Serve …”
There is a force within that gives you life. Seek that.
— Rumi from A Garden Beyond Paradise
If you took a blue spruce tree and planted it in the desert, it would obviously perish. How do we forget that we too are living systems, and each of us have unique environments, needs, and conditions within which we flourish or wither?
— Dawna Markova from I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
The Shimmering Hours
… this journey is not
It is not about how far
you can walk
or how fast. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: What Gives You Life …”
In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods. Such an act of resistance requires enormous intentionality and communal reinforcement amid the barrage of seductive pressures from the insatiable insistences of the market, with its intrusion into every part of our life from the family to the national budget … Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Sabbath As Resistance …”