Margaret Anne led our community in an advent liturgy last thursday and i was surprised at my surprise! I had been so caught up in the preparation for the different Christmas events here at the school (www.ssu.ca) that i had forgotten my anticipation. i put together a set of readings every week to help us step into a more monastic rhythm in our prayers, so one would think i would be more on top of church calendar stuff but alas, my protestantism shows, and it’s lumpy…
anyways, below is a prayer by Henri Nouwen used for Advent meditation. a couple years ago, i would have only seen a typical western Christian culture application (privatized) of this prayer but now because of God through books like “The Powers That Be” by Walter Wink and “The Gospel In A Pluralist Society” by Leslie Newbigin, i have come more alive to real-time, real-history applications of the gospel. the gospel must be both public and private, spontaneous and strategic.
Where before i associated prayers about ‘dark and light’ as relating to the state of my inner spiritual status whereas now i see that it also speaks powerfully and necessarily to the darkness and light in systems, in ways of thinking that affect the commonwealth, for good or for ill. If an idea like that is new to you, try fitting the prayer below into a practical issue that’s more systemic and communal rather than immediate and personal. for instance: the spiritual pride of certain insitutions, certain goverments and the negative consequences that flow from that systemic “dark”
Let me know what you find!
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
whilst Ry and I contemplate the future of our AWOL album, i’ll put a song (linked above) of mine up with my weekly posts, should be fun.
This track is called “Splanixomai” which means ‘compassion from your gut’ in some form of greek. I am singing lead vocals and playing the ukulele; Ry is singing the harmony and playing guitar, enjoy!
the song is about the idea that this kind of compassion is not something that comes easy to most of us, we have to fight for it while at the same time recognizing and accepting our own imperfections in this area. so it is important to seek to be more compassionate, to look for models that can guide us into a compassion that would make us groan, one that we can feel. but it also important to seek it in a way that does not crush our spirits, they are fragile enough as it is.