Saturday, November 26, 2011

doing with out is a good thing, right?

“Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. … Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting - that is, of hopefully doing without - will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here we are, on the eve of advent season, and once again Bonhoeffer's words haunt me.  I am a child of our culture.  I personally don't like doing without much of anything!  Trust me, I have plenty of food, way too many clothes and let's not get started talking about all of my books....

And yet, Bonhoeffer invites me - invites all of us - to wait.  And not just wait, but to consider that waiting is a blessing - and to wait (and do without that thing we desire most) hope-fully.  Talk about counter-cultural!  I do see his point.  If we rush through the next 29 days, if we consume and consume and don't exercise moderation in our lives, if we don't w a i t  for it - then whats the point?  We will never experience the blessedness of fulfillment if we can have all that our hearts desire instantaneously.

And so I wait.  We wait.  We wait expectantly, hopefully, and we don't wait for stuff.  Waiting gives our minds time to clear.  Waiting takes practice and is best done along with the spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, worship, Holy Communion and yes even fasting.  These practices allow us to start to see the world through 'God shaped lenses'...its actually pretty amazing to realize that with practice we get to see the world as God sees.  And if we are gentle to ourselves and to others we see how blessed we already are, how God moves and breathes and gives life meaning and we learn to hope again.  

Psalm 131 speaks to this kind of hopeful waiting 

God, I'm not trying to rule the roost, I don't want to be king of the mountain. 
I haven't meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. 

I've kept my feet on the ground, I've cultivated a quiet heart. 
Like a baby content in its mother's arms, 
my soul is a baby content. 

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. 
Hope now; hope always!   (The Message translation)

And so this is my hope for Advent this year.  That we may find peace, hope, joy and love as we wait hopefully throughout this Advent season.

in Christ, together

Paul writes in his letter to Romans (Romans 15:12-13)

Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”  
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, 
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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