See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.
— Malachi 3:1–3
The prophet Malachi appeared at a time of discouragement for the chosen people. They had survived the exile under the Babylonians and were back in their homeland. In what should have been a time of gratitude and renewed fidelity to God’s law, Malachi saw the old patterns beginning again, the attitudes that had gotten the people in trouble in the past. The same old injustices, abuses, and indifference were creeping back into the culture … Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Hope Anyway …”
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 …”
… Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
— Wendell Berry from Sabbaths – 1993
Generosity does not require material abundance. When I think back on the many people who have been so generous toward me, I never think of money or “things.” Instead, I think of the way they gave me their presence, their confidence, their affirmation, support, and blessing — all gifts of “self” that any of us can give. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Continue Being Grateful …”
God does not spill milk. God did not bash the truck into your father’s car. Nowhere in scripture does it say, ‘God is car accident’ or ‘God is death.’ God is justice and kindness, mercy, and always—always—love. So if you want to know where God is in this or in anything, look for love.
— Kate Braestrup from Here if You Need Me
We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.
— William Gladstone (attr. The National Elementary Principal)
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Walk humbly now.
Do justly now.
Love mercy now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it. Continue reading “Peace: After A Destructive Encounter …”
The highest form of love is the love that allows for intimacy without the annihilation of difference.
— Parker J. Palmer from The Courage to Teach
I conclude by saying that each of us must keep faith in the future. Let us not despair. Let us realize that as we struggle for justice and freedom, we have cosmic companionship. This is the long faith of the Hebraic-Christian tradition: that God is not some Aristotelian Unmoved Mover who merely contemplates upon himself. He is not merely a self-knowing God, but an other-loving God forever working through history for the establishment of His kingdom. Continue reading “The Living Image Of God …”