Beloved St. John’s community,

With Advent, the Church’s new year, we launched two new small groups: (1) Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness; and (2) Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series inviting transformational conversations about race and faith. During both of these groups, we are doing the deep work of metanoia – traditionally translated “repentance,” which is a word that some appreciate, and others find off-putting, but which in the original language just means “to turn around” (think “turn” in our Way of Love practices). Although Advent doesn’t have as strong a theme of metanoia—transformation—as lent does, it still is a time when we acknowledge that we are not yet where we want to be. The kingdom of God is both “already” and “not yet.” And so we dig deep, seeking to dream dreams and see visions of a world that is healed, a world in which God’s Great Shalom is the order of the day—in which a holistic well-being of body, mind and spirit exist for all people, and indeed for all life. We seek the transformation that begins with seeing differently, having the courage to see what is not yet except in the language of poets and prophets, mystics and those at the margins.

As part of our Spiritual Bootcamp, we are following the book Walking the Way of Love (Courtney Cowart, ed.). We are seeking to receive personally the spiritual nourishment and transformation that will enable us to participate in God’s healing of our systems and world. This week each of us did the deep work of discerning five themes that represent both the core of who we are, and who we think God is calling us to be. Here are some of the words that showed up:

These words represent both who we believe we are at the core of our being, and they’re also aspirational—who we believe God seeks to transform us to become. As such, we have begun to search for scriptures, stories, characteristics of Jesus or God or the Spirit that align with these themes. These are a glimpse of the kingdom of God—the dream of God in which there is justice, joy, compassion, generosity, courage, integrity, delight.

We believe the Spirit is dreaming in us, leading us toward a horizon we can’t yet fully see. How is God’s Spirit calling you?

This Saturday, December 12, we are having a virtual “Advent Quiet Day” (actually it’s just 2.5 hours in the morning) in which we will focus on the theme “Be Still, and Know that I am God.” If you were to become still and receptive to the presence of God, what dream would the Spirit begin dreaming in you? Please consider joining us for the Advent Quiet Day by registering here –there are both zoom and NON-Zoom (i.e. solo) options.

Regardless of whether or not you can join us for the virtual Advent Quiet Day, I pray you will make time to listen for God’s presence. Consider ordering the book Walking the Way of Love and following along on your own. Or find other ways to listen to the Spirit dreaming in you at the core of your own being, seeking to transform you to become who you already most deeply are, and who God calls you to be, for the healing of the world God so loves.

Faithfully, in Christ’s love,

Lisa