today, the 14, 21 and 25 december is the first christian [grid::blog]. on those days bloggers round the world will all blog on shared advent themes. (if you are thinking that we haven't a clue about the church calendar as advent started last sunday, the reason is that there was another grid blog that day so it seemed appropriate to wait (ha! an advent theme!). who knows how it will work? or who will take part? i'm sure someone will collate the participants at some stage and i will pass it on to you. but it struck me that this is worship trick 65. it's a global/communal act of reflection and worship, similar in a way to the digital quilt which i have as worship trick 50, or the idea of a communal blog such as the grace lent blog (which is temporarliy off line so i can't link to it). these things all enable people in different locations and time zones to particiipate in corporate global acts of worship (both by contributing and reading/reflecting on what is posted). i'm sure we'll see more of these ideas developed and analogue church will no doubt object and say that this kind of digital/virtual worship lacks authenticity but no surprise there. anyway onto advent1...
one of the themes of advent that i have grown to love is waiting. whilst most people joining in the grid blog will be writing on the theme of seek i think that maybe waiting or stopping is a precursor to seeking...
i read this wonderful article a life creates a bridge by mark yaconelli in the 2003 princeton lectures (every year they put them into a journal and send them to you free - you just have to sign up! they do also put the articles online but sadly this set aren't up yet - i'll let you know if i spot them). anyway here are a few quotes from it. it is about youth ministry but don't be put off if you do something different..
our first calling as youth ministers is to do nothing. it is the call to stop and be still. it is the holy spirit's invitation to live in the present moment, to slow down and discern the heart of our actions...
...when we stop and do nothing we begin to traverse the long distance between the head and the heart. we begin to notice our experience of life - the motivations and forces that drive our activities. it is difficult to stop and sit still before god...
i want to say more about the rest of this article another day but for now that's it! that's my advice for advent - shut up, be quiet, stop your frenzied activity, wait, wait and wait. in the words of radiohead 'hey man slow down, slow down, slow down'. advent is a 9 month pregnant pause. these words from the st hilda community are worth saying/praying/chewing over... (i am making them worship trick 66 - be still)
before your god
let your god
look upon you
that is all
she loves you with
an enourmous love
she only wants to
look upon you
with her love
vaux love the theme of waiting and have written many inspiring words/thoughts on it. one piece that you may want to use for advent is waiting mass. the opening part is included in the alternative worship book (you may recognise it) and i am adding it as worship trick 67.
one thing we do every year in our family for advent is have an advent candle. we couldn't find one anywhere this year so made our own with hand drawn days on it. the idea is that we light it each day and wait for it to burn down. normally it's quite quick as advent candles seem to be thin. but this year it's burning for a lot longer - more waiting!