Lord, comfort those who cannot be comforted.
“The one desire of God is to be held: held deep in the center of all being beneath all motives where understandings are drown out by the gurgles of an infantile creation, fully rested in its baby-ness.”
“Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.”
-Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury
Repentance is not an end in and of itself for the sake of moral excellence (which only leads to a pious superiority). Rather, repentance is the removal of distractions that keep us from perceiving the presence of God within us and all around us. It is a preparation to see God in a whole new light and in the new reality.
Our Values, Practices, and Beliefs
Advent is a season of expecting the unexpected. This kind of preparation can be difficult when we’ve become too familiar with the trappings of our Christianity, mistaking them for intimacy with God. To counter this stagnation in the spiritual life, the Spirit often breaks into our lives in unimaginable ways, disrupting our routines and schedules.
“Many people have difficulty with the holidays because of the stress caused by commercialism. Some resign themselves helplessly to the consumer chaos while others hold out to the bitter end and refuse to participate in any way, making themselves “Christian Scrooges,” if you will. Thankfully, the ancient church gives us an alternative to this duality–the season of Advent.”
On the cross, we see an immense miracle—the death of God. As long as we refuse to follow Christ into this humility and forgiveness, our world’s history will be violent, and our personal stories will be identities defined by conflict and opposition.