This week we encounter the Advent mantra, ‘Prepare the Way of the Lord,’ in Luke’s gospel. What does it mean to prepare the way for God’s fuller movement into and through our lives?
Frequently I feel that I am wading in words, ideas, and emotions when I really long to be swimming in the Mystery. Yet I am discovering, through a messy process of trial and error, that there exist secret doors which open and deposit me in God’s presence. Maybe you have some of these intimate practices?
A few years ago I participated in an Advent Wreath workshop at our church in Boston. Well, actually I didn’t even have time to participate in the workshop before church (sound familiar?), but thankfully someone put a little kit in my hand as I walked out of the worship space. It contained the makings for a very simple wreath of beads strung on cord surrounding a tile base and five candles.
During hard years of graduate school and all the transitions of last Advent, including the death of a dear mentor, I lit candles and held these beads in the growing winter darkness. Sometimes it was all I could do.
I am starting to suspect that preparing the way for God may be more about these simple practices and less about getting all of our thoughts and feelings in order. (Or maybe the process of centering in God organizes our thoughts and feeling naturally.) There is actually a robust conversation right now in the Church about the need to enlarge our paradigm from orthodoxy — right thinking, right believing — to orthopraxis –right living, right practices. Shane Claiborne talks about it in The Irresistible Revolution-a great read.
I hope the advent mantra, prepare a way, continues to work on you and through you this week. Consider it an invitation to create a small, beautiful action which reminds you of God’s presence during this season, like this photo of a home-crafted advent wreath I share here.
Peace to you this winter day,
Community Dinner Tonight at Casa Semrad. 108 S. Rosemont Dallas TX 75208. Join us for coconut-milk lentil soup and conversation. We may get crafty and make some advent wreaths out of recycled materials. Join us!