Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Second Sunday of Advent December 7, 2008

The worship bulletin for this Sunday is here. The theme for this week is peace. I have recycled my Scriptures and some of the prayers from last year. But I have come up with new/different thoughts.

Isaiah 2.1-5
Isaiah 9.2-7
Luke 1.67-79
Isaiah 32.16-17

Peace is such a deep, elusive, and almost trendy subject. There are a lot of people talking about peace in a lot of different contexts. Framing it in advent terminology, there are a lot of people WAITING for peace. I think about us--the people in America--waiting for peace. We long for peace in Iraq. In Afghanistan. But why? Just so our soldiers can come home? That's a good enough reason, but how about the suffering of the people in those countries? And we wait for peace in Sudan (and the rest of Africa). But why? Because the thoughts of the suffering bother us? Because we watched Hotel Rwanda and were moved by it?
God's heart breaks with the conflict and suffering of the world. Ours should, too, because we are called to follow the words of Jesus: "Love your neighbor as yourself". And because we are all part of each other; we are all connected.
And we wait for peace in America. In the richest country in the world, our souls are empty and in perpetual turmoil. Let us pray Psalm 80.1-3:

1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

2before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

3Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Saved. Saved from ourselves, saved from the things we have created, saved from the things we love.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sacred Space for Advent

Sacred Space for Advent contains several helps for our spiritual journey. Especially helpful may be the Advent Retreat, which is set up in three sessions, which may be done all in one day of retreat or in three separate sessions on different days. I appreciate Lilly Lewin pointing out these resources.

Why We Are Waiting

This is a website that offers a good spiritual explanation of the pilgrimage we call Advent. There are links to other audio selections as well.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advent Poem Day 2

This poem is from Everyday Liturgy and I find it a meaningful prayer for Advent. The poem is credited to Thomas.

We are weary Lord of life
Lived for survival and not joy.
Take our cares and worries;
Come and bless us,
Change us,
Rearrange us.
May our house be filled with
The aroma of your presence,
And the cold drafts of
A wintry world that seeks and devours
Be stopped up
That we joyfully relax in
Our vocations, renewed by
The scent of unceasing divinity.

Always May God's Love Be with You

This video is of a song called "In the Sun". It was written by Joseph Arthur, but this cover is performed by Michael Stipe (REM) and Coldplay. It is part of a benefit EP that Stipe put together for Gulf Coast Hurricane Relief. I saw this performance on Austin City Limits this weekend. It is moving. And a great song.

Advent Hope

This is a really good article on hope during the season of Advent. It is written by Mike DeVries. Take time to read it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Are You Happy?

I found this article by Scot McKnight (I follow his blog). It is a little intellectual, but it is a good read. Scot has a warm and inviting spirit in his writing.

From Bart Campolo's Blog

This post is from a blog I regularly read: Bart Campolo. The original post is here.

From an Email to a Struggling Friend

'Everything will be all right in the end’ still works for me, limited God and all, so long as I locate ‘the end’ way beyond my earthly life. When I fight against Chuck Norris, no one (even Chuck) can be sure exactly how long it will last or how many lucky punches I may get in before I succumb, but everyone (including me) knows that I’m going down in the end. That’s the surest hope I have: That, in the end, Love will prove to be stronger than everything else. I can’t prove it, of course, but I’ve decided to live as though it is true because nothing else inspires me, and because I genuinely like that way of life. The more I do so, of course, the more convinced I become that my hope is true. Most ways of life are
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self-verifying that way, which is why I sometimes tell friends who are struggling with faith that the most important question isn’t what kind of God are you sure of, but rather what kind of God do you most desperately, most surely hope for. After all, that’s the only One you’ll keep following even when the chips are down.


Are you on the go? We are offering a BRIEF daily Advent devotional available through text message to your mobile phone. It will contain a Scripture verse and a prayer and will come to your phone every day (starting Monday) during Advent. If you want to receive the devotional, list your mobile number and service provider (Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, Altell, etc) on a comment to this post or email it to me at The first message will arrive around 7pm on Monday. The rest will arrive around 7am daily.

Advent Practices

Take time to try this online advent devotional: .

Spend time SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE during Advent. Get rid of what you don’t need. Pick one room or one area of your life and get started. Here are some online resources:

Pray one of these breath prayers during Advent:

A breath prayer is a prayer so brief that it can be prayed with each breath. The first half on inhale, and the second half of the prayer on exhale. This is a way to learn to “pray without ceasing”. Breath prayers also seem to stick in our minds and sink down into our souls and our subconscious minds. Pray a breath prayer for a specific number of times (100, etc.) or for a specific period (while you walk, drive, cook, wait in line, etc.)

Emmanuel, I believe you are with me.

Christ Child of the Manger, be born in my heart today.

Prince of Peace, may your peace fill my heart.

God of Hope, I am waiting for you to come to me.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner (traditional Jesus prayer)

Lord of Love, fill my life with your love.