#AdventWord 2018, Week 4

#Persist

Today’s #AdventWord is ‘persist,’ & the finish line is in sight—two more sleeps & one more word ‘til Christmas. Thanks for sticking it out with me throughout this month; it felt nice to know that I was indirectly sharing that intimate part of my life with whoever took the time to skim through my daily reflections.

Today’s sermon at St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish was about accompaniment—those acts of showing up & sticking by others, sometimes with words, but more often, in silent solidarity. The term will be familiar to anyone interested in Migrant Rights or Immigrant Justice—accompaniment in that context is the way that “allied individuals, organizations, & congregations provide solidarity to individuals facing deportation or contact with immigration officials.” You can learn more about how that’s happening in Seattle through waimmigrantsolidaritynetwork.org

But Fr. Edmund also shared examples of even more modest acts of showing up, like sitting in a hospital waiting room as a friend once did with him. This and other examples he shared brought an even subtler act of service to top of mind: the spiritual discipline of remembering. How often does the kindness that we experience stay with us, and for how long?

And what of the memories that don’t have a face or name? The subtle grace we experience along the highways & byways of the ordinary city; the places we return to for nourishment almost by instinct; the comfortable hum of anonymous blessing—their imprints on us persist, but do we notice?

This is not my first Christmas in this city, though it will be the first one that I celebrate as a local. In a very short time, I’ve formed rituals & routines, and have much to take for granted, already. Yet, part of the intentional story that I hope will guide my being here is to break that old habit. I want to resist the pull of oblivion, especially when the grace I ought to remember doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

I hope that some of you will help me along that journey. I hope to do the same for you as well.

#Peace

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

That’s how the Good News Bible translates Jesus’ words just before he and his friends went to the garden of Gethsemane, where he would be betrayed, arrested & taken away to be tried & then crucified. Why bring this bleak chapter up tonight, of all nights? It’s Christmas Eve, after all!

Today’s #AdventWord is ‘peace,’ & the Christian’s relationship with time can be strange; we share the peace of Jesus Christ with each other every Sunday, but we do this knowing that the world looks nothing like God’s shalom. Far from cognitive dissonance, this brings us again & again to the point of it all: when we mark Christ’s coming into the world, we rehearse a cosmic dramaturgy that is still unfolding.

Advent means that we are still waiting for Christ to return, & in the Christmas story, we recall God’s ongoing gift of creation—from beginning to end, & back again, the church year is our spiraling out the fullness of time.

That’s what I see in Ellen Forney’s ‘Walking Fingers’ mural at the Capitol Hill Link Station: the sign of peace is here, but our perspective is still distorted. The good news is that, just as this “30 foot high mural is a sly bit of large scale wayfinding,” as the plaque in the station reveals, so too does our parallax view of God’s Kingdom point us forward. We make this path by walking it.

#Celebrate

Today’s final Christmas morning #AdventWord is ‘celebrate’—here’s to a new year of new traditions of our making 💖

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