Nine of us gathered this morning in The Upper Room Chapel to pray with and on behalf of the world. Two guests from Colorado joined us. We sang, prayed, and lit the first candle of Advent, the candle of peace.
Our candle lighting prayer by Steve Garnaas-Holmes:
Loving God, you are our peace;
prepare our hearts for your coming.
Forge the swords of bitterness into plows of blessing;
till the soil of our souls for your springing forth in us.
Remove our heart’s defensive armor,
clothe us in light alone,
and pierce our wide-open hearts with your love.
By your Spirit in us, may we be at peace:
awake, and ready to welcome your presence.
“We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Child of the Light provides tools to help you find your quiet center. Our eCourse invites you to find that quiet center with friends old and new. Enter with Beth into readings and reflections inspired by the season’s carols and hymns. Your spirit will be lifted and your mind quieted. The experience extends past Christmas to Epiphany, encouraging you to live into the joy of Christmas beyond seasonal celebrations.
I’m excited about two recently released books with connections to Weavings.
The Upper Room Disciplines 2020, a lectionary-based daily devotional, features 53 writers who were contributors to Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life. I’m honored to be one of them, writing the meditations for the week of October 12–18, 2020. Marjorie J. Thompson writes the foreword for the book. The 53 authors include many friends and beloved writers, among them: Kathleen Flood, Luther Smith, J. Barrie Shepherd, Wendy Wright, Roberta Bondi, Michael Downey, Rachel Hackenberg, Don Saliers, Jan Johnson, Kristen Vincent, Gerrit Dawson, Marilyn McEntyre, Mark Burrows, Deborah Smith Douglas, and Kara Lassen Oliver. Available now at your favorite bookseller.
I’ve loved Advent as long as I can remember. And running across this photo of me, face to face with the Nativity set let me see the gift my parents gave me as a young child.
My memories are of our family lighting the Advent wreath together every Sunday. Each child yearned to be old enough to light the candle. Once you could read, there was the Bible passage or that week’s meditation from the Advent booklet. I didn’t love accompanying the family’s Advent hymn on the piano. 😉
When The Upper Room invited me to write a book for the Advent season, I was thrilled. It called back all those memories of the Advent wreath, the candles, the little book, the awkward hymn playing and the singing.
And I am grateful for this gift.
God, open our hearts and the hearts of the world to your hope. Peel back the layers of our stubborn opinions, our fearful assumptions, and let the light of your life-giving spirit enter in. Amen.
For those of you looking for The Uncluttered Heart … The emails and texts are no longer available. But the content is here. Blessings on your Advent season! – Beth P.S. The book is available in print, EPub, and Kindle formats.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art.
“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”
Jesus, Child of God, you are our strength, our hope, our comfort, and our consolation. You are, indeed, the hope of the world. Send your strength and healing to every broken place, every despondent heart.
Alive Now, one of the publications I edit, has been participating in an Advent practice of “praying with your camera in your hand,” or praying with your eyes – Visio Divina.
We’ve shared the graphic (above) with the words for each day and invited people to see, pray, hashtag, and share. Churches and people all over the world are observing Advent together in this way. Even a church in Jerusalem!
I’ve been teaching the use of hashtags and how to use them. “Tag your photos by typing in the hashtags #AliveNowMag and #adventphoto. Then click on the hashtag to see and pray the photographs of others.”
There is still plenty of time and need for Advent practice. This time of Advent starts to speed up and some sort of practice of stopping, praying, and listening is more important than ever.
Visit my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or search for me on Instagram and pray with all of us these last days of the season of preparation.