Silence and Sound Advent Devotional

Faithful readers,

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 and Sound 2
Download Advent Devotaional

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.”

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“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!”

Writers:

Bethany Stallings
Charlotte Cline-Smith
Meridith Matson
Nathan Bingaman
Scott Matson

Artist:

Ellie Stager
letterandjournal.com

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Beginnings

My time spent away from blogging more than just songs or devotional thoughts quoted from other authors has not been without reason.  And definitely not because I don’t have anything to say.  If anything, I have more to say now than ever before in my life.  And it would probably be an incredibly beneficial act as a Graduate Seminary student to craft some of the Bible and Theology I’ve been taught into my own words.  I also am in a journalism class that will likely be a huge contribution to my stress level this semester, but could possibly transform me into a better writer than I’ve ever been.  The book we’re reading now continues to stress that it is important to write regularly, and blog regularly.  Both I have failed miserably at recently.

This is an attempt to change my silent, non-blogging days into days filled with words.

We will see how long this lasts.

Time is quickly passing, just life, and time tonight.  My mind always comes alive in the early hours of the night.  I continue to blame this on “never really getting off West Coast time.”

My simple thought for tonight comes from the book of Genesis, in the first couple chapters of the book.  My Old Testament Professor has spent the first three weeks of this semester carefully navigating the first handful of chapters of the Bible.  The experience has been one of beauty and wonder.

Examining the fall, in Genesis chapter 3, there are a great number of questions we can ask the text as we study and look at it.  One of the most perplexing to me has been: where did evil come from?  The enemy of God, the serpent in this portion of scripture, wasn’t “created”; it simply is introduced as a character in the narrative.  Many argue the “old age earth” position, saying that this specific description of creation was a second creation, leaving a great deal of room for imagination to step back and consider about all the possibilities.  

Regardless of where evil and the enemy of God came from, it is beautiful to see the relationship between God and mankind in the garden; simply amazing knowing God walked with Adam and Eve.  God provided for every one of their needs, and they shared in deep, personal relationship with Him.  

The picture painted of God caring for mankind, who was made in his own image is one I long for today.  Theologians speculate about the change that happened after the fall for humans.  Did our God-likeness change?  Relationships?  Diet?  Atmosphere?  Needs?  Some of those questions are addressed and answered as the narrative of Genesis is told, but the relationship between God and man certainly was no longer what it was in the garden, in the beginning.

At this point it would be easy to pull out the “Jesus” card and talk about Christ as our mediator in our relationship with God.  But.  I’m not going to.  I think it is important to ponder these opening chapters of the Bible and simply consider.  Ask questions.  Wonder.

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