As promised, our contemplative Advent devotional is ready now for download. Beginning Friday, December 1 through December 25, enjoy a reading and contemplative exercise each day.
“Silence & Sound Advent 2017 is our gift to you this Advent season. We hope that through this devotional, you are called to deeper understanding and fuller practice of the faith we share in Christ! We worked together across the world to compile these readings and thoughts as short daily readings with accompanying contemplations or actions you can pick up at any point in the day or integrate into your personal advent practice.”
“Silence and sound are two vital themes in the Old Testament. Although this pair are often discussed as opposites, we have placed them on a spectrum–silence can sound like many different things. From the beginning, we encounter the silence of the void into which the Creator speaks, a certain silence of good creation at peace as the Creator rests; but also the silence of Adam during the Temptation, the silence of Eve as she gives the serpent too much shrift, the silence of dread that must have filled their ears, knowing the Lord God would show up. Silence gives the foundational mythos of Scripture its cadence, while sound accompanies the interventions of the Creator. God speaks, and the world is created, and so the morning stars sing for joy. Prophets prophesy and kings decree; people cry out in repentance, and then praise.
“All the way through, silence and sound punctuate this holy history of the Old Testament. The silence of pain: from the uncomfortable silence between Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah to the deathly silences Esther endured to save her people. The sound of distress: the sound of Israelites groaning under their slavery, the repentant sound of Nineveh’s decree, and the reluctant sound of Jeremiah’s prophecies. The silence of blessing: from the stupefied silence as his brothers are reconciled to Joseph to the hushed silence as the ark of the covenant is placed in the Temple. The sound of victory: the sound of the Lord God cursing the serpent, the sound of the ram’s horn and warrior’s shout crumbling Jericho, the sound of Isaiah’s response “Here am I.”
“Beyond these guiding narratives, we find silence and sound woven through the lives and the faith of believers throughout history. Silence and sound can be sources of strength when we have trained ourselves to hear them. If we will attune our ears and attend to the message, we will hear the glory of God in the sounds and silences of life. The Advent season is a reminder to us of the power of waiting and listening as well speaking out. May the voice of the Lord guide your lives and faith!”
Bethany Stallings Charlotte Cline-Smith Meridith Matson Nathan Bingaman Scott Matson
The arrival of advent awaits us. Beginning December 3, the church begins a season of expectation and waiting, culminating on Christmas Day as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A few friends of mine have put together a contemplative advent guide, which will be available for free. Check back here later this coming week for a link to download. This guide is meant to help you create some calm in the midst of this often busy season. We hope it is a blessing and refreshment to your soul this season.
Check back here for a few of my original writing and poetry, as I’ll post on the day each one is read in the guide.
“Shame is born in public and lived out secretly;
what is not seen cannot be scrubbed away But so much can be made bearable by love
By cherishing what is
and not condemning fault or flaw
By never locking doors
By keeping hearts open
And holding each other forever in the light”
Isn’t it funny?
Everything seems like a great idea
until it happens.
Move across the country and attend seminary..
but leave all your friends and family behind.
Move across the country so you can [potentially] meet your spouse..
but have everyone you’ve loved and longed for leave or let you down.
Move across the world to do ministry and be near your family…
but live with questions and fears whether it was really the right thing.
I live in the tension
of the life I long to live
and the life I’m living right now.
As if these two were so different
but sometimes they are in my mind.
Faced with a choice and decision that will impact the destination of the next chapter.
Move back to the land of barrenness and heartache…
to perhaps grasp what I’ve been reaching for.
Move to a land unknown full of possibilities…
only to be left alone, with myself and my thoughts.
Reaching forward and reaching back
cannot be done at the same time,
you must choose: future or past.
Which will dictate your path?
The choices you didn’t choose, or the chances you did take?
Perhaps all that we long for and all that we hope,
are right in front of us, right under our nose.
Perhaps the person we are and the person we long to be
are one in the same,
and the tension of both can become one.
It’s not really funny
many things seem like great ideas
until reality sets in
until it happens.
But the true treasure lies in your moments and days
embracing today while it is still called “today.”