Sunday, November 26, 2006

God With Us: Living into the Promise

“O come, O come, Emmanuel!” we sing together through the season of Advent. This hymn sweeps us into our longing for the felt-presence of Christ in our daily lives. Emmanuel is the Hebrew name which translated means “God With Us.” It comes from the prophecies of Isaiah who promised that God would give the Israelites a sign: “Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

This Advent season at Shell Ridge, we will be contemplating ways in which God comes to birth in each and every one of us. Even as we anticipate celebrating the historical moment in which the Christ was made incarnate in the infant Jesus, we will also be paying attention to those times in our lives—as individuals and as a community—when we knew the loving presence of Christ coming to birth within and among us. How do we recognize those moments? How do we learn to slow down and quiet down enough that we’re enabled to experience God’s still, small voice in our midst?

The great mystic and prophet Meister Eckhart (1260-c. 1329) offers some guidance as we look for the evidence of God With Us. “What is the test that you have indeed undergone this holy birth?” Eckhart asks.
Listen carefully. If this birth has truly taken place within you, then no creature can any longer hinder you. Rather, every single creature points you to God and toward this birth. You receive a rich potential for sensitivity, a magnificent vulnerability. In whatever you see or hear, no matter what it is, you can absorb therein nothing but this birth. In fact, everything becomes for you nothing but God. For in the midst of all things, you keep your eye only on God. To grasp God in all things, that is the sign of your new birth (Meditations with Meister Eckhart, a centering book by Matthew Fox).
You are invited to begin the season of Advent with the Hanging of the Greens on Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 – 12:00. During this time we’ll prepare the sanctuary – even as we prepare our own hearts – for the mystery of God’s loving presence in our midst. This is an all-ages, intergenerational event. Kids will have the opportunity to work with Frances Sedar in the creation of a gingerbread village for the narthex, too! Hope to see you there!

Peace and grace,

Jennifer Davidson
Worship & Spiritual Growth

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