My friend Neil Elliott, priest and Pauline Scholar (you should read his books), wrote a Facebook post this past week. I made a copy and meditate with it several times a day…
All the Christian bluster about “waiting” for Christ to be born at Christmas is nonsensical. Waiting for the past means you missed your bus. This smacks of succumbing to consumerism; you know Advent from the muzak playing in the mall.
Waiting for Christ to be “born in our hearts” is an authentic part of the mystical tradition, but no properly Christian mystic EVER meant, “and then we’re done.”
This is a season meant to irritate even Christian hearts into longing for a just and peaceable world. The Arc of the Universe, and all that.
When everyone can together chuckle at the lines from Amos and Micah–“Ah, yes, we fondly remember the day when justice was decisively established throughout the earth”–THEN you can get up in my face about smiling through Advent. ‘Til then, read the signs of the times.
There are two lines in his musing that catch my breath every time. ‘Waiting for Christ (Jesus) to be born in our hearts’ and ‘this is a season meant to irritate even Christian hearts into longing for a just and peaceable world’.
I ask, how can I wait for Jesus to be born in my heart and read the news of the day.
In Advent we remember the incarnation…the visitation, the journey to Bethlehem, the manger, animals, angels, and wise men from the east. My heart still longs for a just and peaceable world. I do chuckle as Neil writes commenting on the lines from the prophets from Amos and Micah. Ah, yes, we fondly remember the day when justice was decisively established throughout the earth”. Meanwhile, we hope, we trust, and we do what we can.
Saint John’s has a remarkable ongoing history of showing up and doing what we can to do more than just longing for a peaceable world. We do our best to get our hands dirty, share the Gospel, and assist in bending the Arc of the Universe. We are engaged in so many missional activities that I noted the other day in a meeting that we needed a project management tool….and yet, all of our work is clearly focused on the Way of Love, and using the talents and resources we have been blessed with. Baskets filled with home supplies, schools in Haiti, food for hungry and homeless, consistently challenging systemic racism, poverty, and violence.
There is more to do….
Call a friend or relative you haven’t spoken with for a long time
Readjust gift giving from those that really don’t need much, to those that have so little
Add a bag of groceries for a family you know that struggles
Give a gift card to the folks that ask for funds at your local street corner. (Don’t be concerned about what they use it for)
Send a gift card to St Nicolas Episcopal Church, Richfield
If you have more than one coat, donate to the Good Will or Salvation Army
Add 5% to your pledge to increase the support we can provide at Saint John’s
Have a civil conversation with a police officer
Give a larger tip at your local coffee shop
Keep challenging the privilege we have as white people, be clear about our history
Every day ask yourself, what must I do today to allow space for Jesus to be born in my heart
Allow yourself to be irritated with the state of the world, the environment, our country
Write your own list….
I suspect that Meister Eckhart would say to us, breathe God in, and Out, and practice being a midwife birthing the incarnation of Jesus and the Reign of Heaven into each of our hearts.