Larry McGuire of Gilbert, AZ, USA
It is imperative to understand that when you are truly baptized into Christ you become part of a new creation. By taking on the life and mind of Christ, you increasingly view yourselves and others from a changed perspective. Former ways of defining people by economic status, social class, sex, gender, or ethnicity no longer are primary. Through the gospel of Christ a new community of tolerance, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and love is being born as a visible sign of the coming reign of God. -Doctrine and Covenants 164:5
Every year as we move through the liturgical calendar, we celebrate the faithful discipleship of people who lived centuries before us, those celebrating now, and those who will arrive long after we are gone from this earth. It is a cycle of memory, birth, and rebirth.
This is a journey of reencounter with God in sacred texts, hymns of imagination and poetry, and relationships with people. It is a journey in which we affirm over and again that God chose to encounter us in a relationship, not as a theory. The relationship can include painful memories, the tenderness of a hug, the richness of a meal, the celebration of being together, or the depth of simply welcoming one another. The journey can take us on unfamiliar paths and it can rekindle memories of well-known paths. No matter the path, we are not alone on the journey.
For centuries people waited in expectation for God’s living expression in the world. They longed for someone who would overthrow worldly powers that ruled by fear and domination. They longed to be saved through “the mighty acts of God.” Then, in Jesus, God came by unexpected means, to an unexpecting family and culture. God came to forge a lasting relationship that continues today.
Do we expect God’s presence during times of violence, hatred, fear, poverty, and war? That is precisely when God encountered us in the birth of Jesus! Many expected something different while others received the gift just as it was given. What do we expect centuries after the birth of Jesus? Am I waiting with anticipation or with preconceived ideas and no expectancy to be surprised by the encounter with God?
I wait. We wait. God, how shall we meet you this Advent season?
Advent Prayer Phrase
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Advent Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.