YOU Are the One!

David, the Shepherd BoyScripture Passage: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13 (Lent 4A)

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

In this Lenten season, what would change about our journey if we knew where we would end up, if we thought that we might end up in a place that we didn’t plan?  And what would change about our life if we knew how it was all going to turn out?  I mean, think about it…the boy David is out in the field just minding his own business and doing what probably generations of family members before him had done.  Perhaps his mind is drifting off in daydreams as he sits there with the sheep (since remember he had no smart phone or other gaming device!).  Perhaps he is thinking about what his life will be, where he plans to go, what he plans to do.  He sees his brothers leave and go inside one by one, probably wandering what in the world is going on.  Finally, he is called in.  “You’re the one!”  “What do you mean I’m the one?” he probably thought.  “What in the world are you talking about?  Don’t I even get a choice?”  “Not so much.”  And so David was anointed.  “You’re the one!”

What would have happened if David has just turned and walked away?  Well, I’m pretty sure that God would have found someone else, but the road would have turned away from where it was.  It would have been a good road, a life-filled road, a road that would have gotten us where we needed to be.  But it wouldn’t have been the road that God envisioned it to be. We know how it all turned out.  David started out by playing the supposed evil out of Saul with his lyre.  He ultimately became a great king (with several bumps–OK, LOTS of bumps, self-built mountains, really–along the way!) and generations later, a child was brought forth into the world, descended from David.  The child grew and became himself anointed—this time not for lyre-playing or kingship but as Messiah, as Savior, as Emmanuel, God-Incarnate.  And in turn, God then anoints the ones who are to fall in line.  “You’re the one”.

Do we even get a choice, you ask?  Sure, you get a choice.  You can close yourself off and try your best to hold on to what is really not yours anyway or you can walk forward into life as the one anointed to build the specific part of God’s Kingdom that is yours.  We are all called to different roads in different ways.  But the calling is specifically yours.  And in the midst of it, there is a choice between death and life.  Is there a choice?  Not so much!  Seeing the way to walk is not necessary about seeing where the road is going but knowing that the road is the Way.  So just keep walking and enjoy the scenery along the way! 

See, we are no different.  We are all chosen, all, on some level, anointed to this holy work.  We can ignore it.  We can cover our ears and cover our eyes and shroud ourselves with excuses and keep walking the way that we would like.  It will get us somewhere, perhaps somewhere that is good and wonderful and makes us feel good.  But what happens when God calls us from the fields and interrupts our daydreams?  What happens when God has something else in store for us?  What happens when God gives us a pathway that we did not expect to follow? Each of us given specific and unique gifts.  We are all called.  It’s not a goal to pursue but a calling to hear.  Our lives are the way we live into that call.  This is the one.  We are the ones.  We are the ones for which we’ve been waiting.

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.  Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.  And there are things to be considered:  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  What are your relationships? Aare you in right relation?  Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.  This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.  The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (The Elders Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation)

Lent is a time of holy questioning and holy listening.  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  Where is your water?  For what are you being called?  For what are you the one?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

The Pilgrim’s Way

the_journeyScripture Passage:  Genesis 12: 1

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Have you ever noticed that no one spends much time standing still in the Bible?  The story begins with God breathing life into Creation and, in essence, making us a home, a place.  But it doesn’t take but a few chapters before we are on the move–aliens, immigrants, sojourners.  It’s pretty clear that God calls us to be pilgrims on this Way, traveling light and gathering all of Creation together as we move. And along the way, we hear lots of words like “sent forth” and “go” and “follow”.  We are called to be a people on the move (at least figuratively and probably even a little literally), essentially migrating from one place to the next, from one way of being to another.  And most of the time, those that came before us moved freely through their journey without a map, without real plans or even real provisions.  Most of the time they were just journeying to a place they did not know but that they knew that God would show them.

So what has happened to us?  How did we become so planted? How did our lives become so safe?  It was never that way in the beginning.  The journey of faith was a wildly unpredictable one into places unknown. The journey of faith called its travelers to be pilgrims in the wilderness, sojourners through foreign lands.  Oh, we like to think of ourselves as journeyers, particularly we Methodists who readily espouse Wesley’s notion of faith as movement, as, to coin his words, “going on to perfection”.  (Gee, there’s that “go” thing again!)  And yet, we will do everything possible to avoid getting driven to the wilderness or left without everything that we need (or at least the latest technological gadget).  We tend to separate ourselves from discomfort or inconvenience or chaos.  We stick to our plans.  But wildness and chaos often creates a certain energy.  It wakes us up; it makes us pay attention.  This week on the Today Show, Al Roker is doing some sort of “Tech Out” series, meaning not that he techs out but that he TAKES tech out.  He’s going analog and old school and EVEN vinyl.  (Remember those words?  They existed before we became so technologically advanced.  On Monday, he looked at vinyl (yes, vinyl) records.  The interesting thing is that a company that was about to go belly up a few years ago is searching for old LP printing machines because the sale of albums has surpassed the sale of streaming music this year.  Who would’ve thought THAT?  (I mean, because we’re so advanced and all.)

Maybe on some level we really DO crave wilderness.  Maybe that’s why Lent begins in the wilderness.  Have you ever noticed that when you travel you see a lot more than when you’re just driving to and from work?  Is it because there’s more to see?  Or is it that when one is unfamiliar territory, one is more aware of the surroundings, more open to seeing things as they are?  Seeing oneself as a pilgrim, a wanderer, is the same thing.  It keeps our eyes open and our minds alert.  We notice God’s Presence; we notice God’s People; we do not see ourselves as “owners” or even squatters.  We see ourselves as part of Creation.  We begin to see that we are called not to arrive but to journey.  Our faith IS the journey.  So Lent begins in the wilderness and asks us to travel deep within ourselves, beyond our preconceptions, beyond our assumptions, beyond our plans.  We go, open to what God has to show us along the way. (So, maybe it would help if we put down our smart phones just for a little while so that we could see the world!)

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. (Wendell Berry)

So as we make this Lenten journey, what do you see?  What are you missing?  Where are you being called to go? (And does that have to involve your cell phone?)

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

This is the One

David, the Shepherd BoyScripture Passage: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13 (Lent 4A)

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

In this Lenten season, what would change about our journey if we knew where we would end up, if we thought that we might end up in a place that we didn’t plan?  And what would change about our life if we knew how it was all going to turn out?  I mean, think about it…the boy David is out in the field just minding his own business and doing what probably generations of family members before him had done.  Perhaps his mind is drifting off in daydreams as he sits there with the sheep.  Perhaps he is thinking about what his life will be, where he plans to go, what he plans to do.  He sees his brothers leave and go inside one by one, probably wandering what in the world is going on.  Finally, he is called in.  “You’re the one!”  “What do you mean I’m the one?” he probably thought.  “What in the world are you talking about?  Don’t I even get a choice?”  “Not so much.”  And so David was anointed.  “You’re the one!”

What would have happened if David has just turned and walked away?  Well, I’m pretty sure that God would have found someone else, but the road would have turned away from where it was.  It would have been a good road, a life-filled road, a road that would have gotten us where we needed to be.  But it wouldn’t have been the road that God envisioned it to be. We know how it all turned out.  David started out by playing the supposed evil out of Saul with his lyre.  He ultimately became a great king (with several bumps–OK, LOTS of bumps–along the way!) and generations later, a child was brought forth into the world, descended from David.  The child grew and became himself anointed—this time not for lyre-playing or kingship but as Messiah, as Savior, as Emmanuel, God-Incarnate.  And in turn, God then anoints the ones who are to fall in line.  “You’re the one”.

Do we even get a choice, you ask?  Sure, you get a choice.  You can close yourself off and try your best to hold on to what is really not yours anyway or you can walk forward into life as the one anointed to build the specific part of God’s Kingdom that is yours.  We are all called to different roads in different ways.  But the calling is specifically yours.  And in the midst of it, there is a choice between death and life.  Is there a choice?  Not so much!  Seeing the way to walk is not necessary about seeing where the road is going but knowing that the road is the Way.  So just keep walking and enjoy the scenery along the way! 

See, we are no different.  We are all chosen, all, on some level, anointed to this holy work.  We can ignore it.  We can cover our ears and cover our eyes and shroud ourselves with excuses and keep walking the way that we would like.  It will get us somewhere, perhaps somewhere that is good and wonderful and makes us feel good.  But what happens when God calls us from the fields and interrupts our daydreams?  What happens when God has something else in store for us?  Each of us given specific and unique gifts.  We are all called.  It’s not a goal to pursue but a calling to hear.  Our lives are the way we live into that call.  This is the one.  We are the ones.  We are the ones for which we’ve been waiting.

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.  Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.  And there are things to be considered:  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  What are your relationships? Aare you in right relation?  Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.  This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.  The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (The Elders Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation)

Lent is a time of holy questioning and holy listening.  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  Where is your water?  For what are you being called?  For what are you the one?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

The Pilgrim’s Way

the_journeyScripture Passage:  Genesis 12: 1

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Have you ever noticed that no one spends much time standing still in the Bible?  The story begins with God breathing life into Creation and, in essence, making us a home, a place.  But it doesn’t take but a few chapters before we are on the move–aliens, immigrants, sojourners.  It’s pretty clear that God calls us to be pilgrims on this Way, traveling light and gathering all of Creation together as we move. And along the way, we hear lots of words like “sent forth” and “go” and “follow”.  We are called to be a people on the move (at least figuratively and probably even a little literally), essentially migrating from one place to the next, from one way of being to another.  And most of the time, those that came before us moved freely through their journey without a map, without real plans or even real provisions.  Most of the time they were just journeying to a place they did not know but that they knew that God would show them. 

So what has happened to us?  How did we become so planted? How did our lives become so safe?  It was never that way in the beginning.  The journey of faith was a wildly unpredictable one into places unknown. The journey of faith called its travelers to be pilgrims in the wilderness, sojourners through foreign lands.  Oh, we like to think of ourselves as journeyers, particularly we Methodists who readily espouse Wesley’s notion of faith as movement, as, to coin his words, “going on to perfection”.  (Gee, there’s that “go” thing again!)  And yet, we will do everything possible to avoid getting driven to the wilderness or left without everything that we need (or at least the latest technological gadget).  We tend to separate ourselves from discomfort or inconvenience or chaos.  We stick to our plans.  But wildness and chaos often creates a certain energy.  It wakes us up; it makes us pay attention.  Maybe that’s why Lent begins in the wilderness.

Have you ever noticed that when you travel you see a lot more than when you’re just driving to and from work?  Is it because there’s more to see?  Or is it that when one is unfamiliar territory, one is more aware of the surroundings, more open to seeing things as they are?  Seeing oneself as a pilgrim, a wanderer, is the same thing.  It keeps our eyes open and our minds alert.  We notice God’s Presence; we notice God’s People; we do not see ourselves as “owners” or even squatters.  We see ourselves as part of Creation.  We begin to see that we are called not to arrive but to journey.  Our faith IS the journey.  So Lent begins in the wilderness and asks us to travel deep within ourselves, beyond our preconceptions, beyond our assumptions, beyond our plans.  We go, open to what God has to show us along the way. 

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. And when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. (Wendell Berry)

So as we make this Lenten journey, what do you see?  What are you missing?  Where are you being called to go? (And does that have to involve your cell phone?)

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Lighted Windows

Candle in the WindowScripture Passage for Reflection:  John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There are bumps in every road–even the road to Bethlehem.  There are things that we plan, that we need, that somehow do not go the way we envisioned.  For me, one of my favorite services is the Service of the Longest Night, the service of light where we remember that even in the midst of those bumps in the road, even in the darkest darkness, is God, walking with us, bumping along just like we are.  And then Wednesday night, I got sick.  Now I don’t do sick well.  It’s hard to admit that I’m sick.  But Thursday was just not going to happen for me so I missed the Service of the Longest Night.  I missed the service that I probably needed to help me get through some bumps in the road because of a bump in the road.  Go figure!

I actually don’t think that original journey to Bethlehem was without its bumps.  Life is like that.  The little caravan with the pregnant couple whose world had been turned upside down probably encountered lots of things.  They probably couldn’t drive straight through.  There were places that they had to avoid, places that were filled with danger from thieves or wild animals or parts of the road that were all but impassable.  And the weather was totally unpredictable.  Who knew that it would be this cold at night?  But they knew that this was something that they had to walk and they knew that they were not alone.  But it was so incredibly dark!

We are told that this is the season of light.  We are usually made to believe that this season should be a joyous one of celebration.  We are made to feel that we should put aside our worries and our cares and enjoy ourselves; we are told to embrace the celebrations and be happy; we are told to look toward the light, the birth of the Christ child.  And yet, tonight, here we sit in darkness. This is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year–fourteen hours of darkness.  The word “solstice” is derived from the Latin “solstitium”, from two words meanings “sun” and “stand still”.  Technically, this comes from the fact that during the days surrounding the solstice, the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky and then seems to have the same noontime elevation for several days in a row.  To early astronomers, the sun appeared to hang in the sky, suspended, paralyzed, as if waiting for some word to move on.

So it seems that on this night of darkness, it is appropriate to acknowledge those parts of our lives that do not seem to “fit” with the joyous season—our frustrations, our fears and anxieties, our anger, our depression, our loneliness, our despair, our grief.  These are not things that we can just leave at the door to the season and then pick them up later.  They are part of us.  And just as we bear them, God takes them and holds them and in what can only be attributed to the mystery of God, somehow manages to put a light in the window in the midst of our darkest night.

That’s exactly what happened that first Christmas.  Think about it.  Things were far from completely right with the world.  The young couple Mary and Joseph were not wealthy, prominent citizens of the capital city of Jerusalem.  They were poor working class citizens of a no-name town in what was essentially a third-world country.  Remember the Scriptures:  nothing good comes from Nazareth.  There was nothing there.  And we tend to romanticize their trip to Bethlehem, making it into some sort of painting of a starlit camping trip with a lovely dark blue backdrop and a beaming star above.  That wasn’t exactly the way it was.  If they did indeed have to make that journey as the writer of the Gospel According to Luke claims, it’s about an 80 mile trip, a 4-day journey under the best of circumstances.  But, as we know, the teen-age Mary was pregnant and at that time, they would probably want to avoid Samaria (which was not the friendliest of territories to the Israelites), which means they probably would have circled through what is now modern-day Jordan, making it an even longer trip.  And, remember, the whole reason that they were traveling at all was for the tax census, imposed by a foreign government to pay for foreign rulers that ruled their lives.  These were not the best of times.  They traveled in darkness.  But that part of the story somehow falls away when it is illumined by the light in the window.  God came, Immanuel, God with us.  “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”

You know, since humanity began, light has been important.  But for those of us who live in the city, where profound physical darkness almost never comes, we may have lost that sense of what light really means.  It’s about more than just lighting our way or giving us a pathway so that we can see where we are going.  Think about those who lived before there was electricity and streetlights every 500 feet or so.  When the sun went down, they were plunged into darkness, save for a few strategically-placed stars.  Until, that is, they lit a candle.  And cultures all over the world and throughout history have had traditions of putting a candle in the window.

The Irish tradition of putting a candle in a window is a symbol of hospitality.  Reminiscent of the first Christmas, it was seen as a gesture to ancient travelers who could find no shelter that there was room for them.  During those times in Irish history when Catholicism was abolished, a candle in the window designated a safe place for Catholic members and clergy.  And we’ve all seen movies and depictions of people trudging through a dark and foreboding snowy night only to be saved by seeing a light in a window.  So, lighted windows are much, much more than something that provides us light to see.  They are places of hospitality, of welcome.  They signify shelter and protection.  A candle in the window draws us in from the darkness.  It brings us home.

So, maybe we who live always surrounded by light don’t really have an appreciation for what lighted windows really mean—until, that is, we find ourselves surrounded by darkness, until we find ourselves encountering a bump in the road.  And in those times, there is the light—a place of welcome, of shelter, of safety.  It draws us home.  The promise of the season is not that there will be no darkness but that it will not overcome the light, that it will not overcome us.

Reflection:  What bumps in the road have you encountered this Advent?  Where have the lights in the window been for you?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

The Plans I Have for You

BlueprintsScripture for Reflection:  Jeremiah 29: 11-14

11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Plans–we’re good at making plans.  We make plans and we put them on a list and we structure our time and our finances and we walk toward those plans.  But what happened to that vision that we keep talking about?  You know the one, when the predators really do lie down with those that they now persecute, when all of us listen to each other, respect each other, when we are all open to change and open to being the instruments of change.  It is the vision for which we hope, the vision on which our whole being, our whole faith is placed.  But, remember that means change-change for the world and change for us.  How open to change are we?  No, I mean really.  How open are we to letting go of what we hold, letting go of the lives that we’ve built around us, the lives that we’ve earned, the lives that we deserve?  How open are we, truly, to letting go of the plans that we’ve made for ourselves?  Oh, we say we are but, then, most of us are the ones with a whole lot more to let go, a whole lot more to lose.  I mean, after all, if your life is going exactly like you’ve planned for it to go, why would you want to change?

We want to change because we are called to change.  It is part of who we are in the deepest part of our being, that part of ourselves that is truly created in God’s image.  So do not hold too tightly to what you have made for yourself.  There is something much, much more waiting for you.  That is what this season of Advent calls us to do–let go, be open to change, open to the plan that God has for us.  Think about it.  What shapes you?  What shapes your life?  What are your goals?  What gives your life me aning?  In what kingdom do you reside?

In what kingdom do I reside?  What does THAT mean?  I mean, who do you follow, what drives you, to whom do you listen?  Life is hard work, this following of our dreams, this pursuing of our riches, this trying desperately to hold on to what we perceive as ours.  Maybe it’s because this is not that for which we were made.  This is not the image that is buried deep within us, the one that compels us to change, the one will lead us out of exile.  The lights have just begun to dawn, pointing the way to the promise, to that vision that God holds for us, to the blueprint that God has had all along.  This season points to a baby each year but the main reason is that it is calling us to rebirth, to follow another Way.  Search for the Lord and you will find that Way.

In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not, When we are Bethlehem-bound we experience our own advent in his.  When we are Bethlehem-bound we can no longer look the other way conveniently not seeing stars, not hearing angel voices.  We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily tending our sheep or our kingdoms.

This Advent let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the Lord has made known to us.  In the midst of shopping sprees, let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.  Through the tinsel, let’s look for the gold of the Christmas Star.  In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos, let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings.  This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places.

(“In Search of Our Kneeling Places”, from Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems, p. 19)

Reflection:  What plans are you following?  Where does that image of God within you call you to go?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli