Comes the poet, words poured out with a texture you can feel, and with a depth that can only be searched with the heart and soul. Paige Hughes has such a gift of drawing me into a space of mystery, beyond questions...a place that changes me for the good. Advent is about waiting in such a place...for a peace the world can not give.
Where is peace?
Mary, are you blue? Is the babe that was born in pain any indication of the struggle the strain of the faceless, nameless creatures of the same Where is peace Mary Does it rest in the crunch of the snow? Does it come with the blade thrust in deeply to the souls that we know? Does it wander freely not making any sound? Does it rise with intent from the cries of injustice underground? Show your face dear grace For those who have no hope Those who crawl through it all and find meaning from the chaos of the cosmos on their knees On their knees because they have no choice On their knees and we fumble for words On their knees and we look for peace On their knees Mary You gave your son for these
Take an hour out of the busy-ness that ramps up to Christmas and listen to this truly special voice and the message he reminds us of. Vanier captures some of the truly extraordinary nature of Jesus:
Jesus was coming to change the whole order of things. And at the heart of that order was the poor, the blind, the lame, and the sick. And so these people would come rushing, all those who were marginal would come rushing to him, seeking strength, seeking compassion, seeking healing. One moment Jesus describes this vision, when he talks about a king giving a wedding feast for the son, and he sends out invitations, and all the table is beautifully laid, and all the people, the worthy citizens, they all refuse. I cannot come, I haven't time, I bought land and I must go and tend it, I bought a pair of oxen and I must work on them, my daughter is getting married and I have to be there--frequently those who are rich, who are in power, they haven't time. So the king gets angry and he sends the servants into the highways and the byways--Bring in the poor, the lame, the sick, the blind, and of course they come rushing in. So we find that in the whole vision of humanity, God is feared, God is not wanted, and on the other side, God is desperately needed.
Before anything existed, there was the Trinity, the Godhead...Father, Son and Spirit. In Genesis, the Spirit hovered around the mirky void of nothingness. The Son, the Word spoke all into existence, everything from atoms to galaxies...everything came into being. In the New Testament, the Word takes on flesh and bones and moves into the neighbourhood of humanity and comes speaking words of new creation. He comes to redeem, restore...to turn the world rightside up. Jesus is the very redemptive imagination of God.
This year, take time to think about what Christmas is really about. Lets dare to dream, to imagine and embrace what Jesus envisioned. Advent is the time to plant the seed of a new creation...of a Kingdom beyond imagination.
We give you thanks for the babe born in violence. We give you thanks for the miracle of Bethlehem, born into the Jerusalem heritage.
We do not understand why the innocents must be slaughtered; we know that your kingdom comes in violence and travail. Our time would be a good time for your kingdom to come, because we have had enough of violence and travail.
So we wait with eager longing, and with enormous fear, because your promises do not coincide with our favourite injustices.
We pray for the coming of your kingdom on earth as it is around your heavenly throne.
We are your people grown weary with waiting.
We dwell in the midst of cynical people, and we have settled for what we can control.
We do not know that you hold initiative for our lives, that your love planned our salvation before we saw the light of day.
And so we wait for your coming, in your vulnerable baby in whom all things are made new.
From Walter Brueggemann's book, "Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth" here.....
Brad Cole is a friend of mine who runs a ministry called Heavenly Sanctuary. This ministry puts on Conferences around the country on the Character of God -- and they get it right. This year they hired an artist named Lars Justinen from the Justinen Creative Group to paint the above picture to use on posters advertising their conference. Under this picture they had captions like "Follow the Leader," "God IS Great," and most accurately, "Jesus - Still Too Radical?"
Heavenly Sanctuary had contracts with several malls in the Seattle area to hang these posters advertising their conference, but no sooner had the posters gone up than angry calls began flooding the malls. Many people -- but, it seems, mostly Christians -- were offended at the image of Jesus washing Osama Bin Laden’s feet. There was such an outcry that each of the malls decided to go back on their contract and take the posters down. The Christian College that Heavenly Sanctuary was renting space from to host the Conference also canceled their contract. Brad had to scramble to find a secular venue (which, ironically, had no problems with the poster).
Christ wants to be at home in your soul. He will not go away and leave you if the house is chilly and uncomfortable; he loves you too much to leave you, but how often, how tragically often, he must say nowadays: ‘The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Christ asks for a home in your soul, where he can be at rest with you, where he can talk easily to you, where you and he, alone together, can laugh and be silent and be delighted with one another. All this may seem daring, but it is true; it is the meaning of the Incarnation.
Source: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander, edited by Thomas Hoffman
Join a number of us who are interested in issues of social justice for this multi-media event being put on by Streams of Justice (http://www.streamsofjustice.org) “This will be an informative and engaging way to learn more about the situation of poverty and homelessness in our region, and to be challenged again with the call to life-giving justice.” At Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, 1803 E. 1st St.
To desire more of God than we've every experienced. To pine for what seems essential to life, and yet so lacking in us. To know instinctively that we just barely understand and live what Jesus has in mind for the Christian life. This is what it means to seek "the rock that is higher than I." Higher Than I " affirms our dissatisfactions with the spiritual life. There is more, and these meditations encourage us to press on in pursuit and longing for all that lies ahead.
In the tradition of Christian contemplatives and mystics from the early centuries to the present, Rob Des Cotes brings fresh insights to many familiar biblical passages, applying them to prayer and to the transforming work of spiritual direction. The numerous images and creative metaphors of the spiritual journey found in these concise and thought-provoking meditations are both contemporary while deeply rooted in the classics of Catholic, Orthodox and Reformation contemplative traditions.
Rob Des Cotes is a spiritual director and pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He teaches Contemplative Traditions at Trinity Western University, as well as courses on spirituality and the arts at Carey Theological College and Columbia Bible College. Rob also directs Imago Dei (MB), a network of faith communities that encourages the practice of prayer and a transforming relationship with God.
A local contemplative, Episcopalian priest and author Cynthia Bourgeault has a lovely way of saying what lies at the heart of truth.
“…The truth doesn’t have to be defended; it only has to be lived…”
So, “Truth” in Christ is embodied – it has to be lived faithfully over time. Embodying truth takes time. For example, have a think about Jesus’ story of God’s judgment – people being separated to the left and right on the basis of what…? Doctrine’s held? One’s signature on a “statement of belief”? The ways in which one has faithfully contended for the truth over and against what we might want to describe as ‘false’ belief? No!