This week’s reflection wore me out. Partly because my reflection on myrrh was so heavy, but also because it was so convicting. But as I began to see the thread God was weaving in my life, I began to gain new appreciation for our new venture. I now see how following the Liturgical calendar is a beautiful way to hear God more clearly and open myself to the gentle work of the Spirit.
During Advent, a few themes became really clear. I realized the world is broken and tattered. It is in no way what it should be. I was burdened by it heavily. But at the same time the words of Hope and Shalom kept reminding me that this is not all there is to life.
God began to gently nudge me with this. If I am going to be so heavily burdened by the awfulness of the world, I need to be doing something about it. I can’t stop school shootings, cancer, or estranged relationships across the country. But I can do my part in pushing back the darkness. Advent is about light breaking forth in the darkness and the presence of Jesus. I am supposed to live an Advent kind of life.
But God didn’t show me a bunch of changes to make, he just put it on my radar.
Then last week I was hit with this again. I began to ask the question, “How am I sacrificing and suffering to bring the left out, lonely, and forgotten to the table? How am I welcoming the misfits?”
The picture of what this might look like comes into focus a little more. But again, no sharp changes became clear. What it has done is give me some direction for Lent.
Typically, for Advent and Lent I find myself scrambling around for something to do. When you allow the Liturgical calendar to shape your entire year, you begin to see the way God walks you through the changes he wants to make in your heart.
And it is a slow and gentle movement that takes place in the ordinary.
In the church world, we often want to make changes based on big events. As a youth minister, I did a lot of prep work for retreats, camps and mission trips. We assume if we can do this one big event we can usher in change. So we inundate people with information and ideas and hope a few stick.
And sometimes that works.
But I have always been suspect of them. They felt disconnected from real life. The Liturgical calendar works much slower. It allows us to Crock Pot what God is doing in our lives. It moves us step-by-step rather than forcing a huge leap at once.
It has its big events – Advent, Lent – but those are in the context of a life lived in the constant listening to God and what he is wanting to do in us – right here and right now. It creates a margin to help me make sense of life, because it takes place right smack in the middle of life.
This is part of what we want to accomplish in this new venture. How can we more clearly and consistently hear what God is doing in our lives? How can being immersed in the Story of Jesus help make sense of life and give greater meaning to the big events?
We would love for you to share the way God is moving in your journey as well. What did he say during Advent? What is he saying in Epiphany? What does it mean in real life?