Showing posts from December, 2012

Don't Let The 4th Week Of Advent Disappear Too Quickly: God is still hoping to birth love in you.

The fourth week of Advent this year is very short, just a matter of days. In the anticipation of Christmas, and the rush of all of the holiday preparations, this fourth week often times is brushed aside.   To be honest, in some years, the fourth candle never seems to get lit.

But it is never too late to celebrate Advent. In fact that is the nature of the Advent season. It is the season of anticipation, constantly waiting and hoping at all times.  It is about beginnings that permeate the entire year.

At our San Francisco Bay Area Mission House, we began Advent this year with a retreat but focused on the theme of what God is hoping to birth in us.   During our weekly Lunch with Jesus gatherings, we have continued to reflect upon this, sharing the stirrings of the Spirit within us, gestating, growing and waiting to be born.

One of our group shared the following blog post by Marianne Williamson, entitled, Christmas Mysticsthat captured for him many of these Advent thoughts and feeling. …

Am I Succeeding in Love?

The mission of the Church rests on the idea that God is love.  It sounds like a simplistic idea - a bumper sticker slogan or platitude.  For me, though, the more that I see of the world and step beyond the boundaries that I place on myself, I see that it this is the most consistently challenging tenet of my faith, and that it is also entirely and flawlessly true.

The love of God is a love that compelled the creation of humans in God's likeness.  It is a love that reaches out to us even though we consistently turn from it, harming each other and ourselves.  It is a love that is willing to withstand rejection and heartache, even physical suffering and death on the cross, in order to make itself felt.  It is a love that reaches out to us when we are suffering, despondent, ill, rejected, grieving, or angry.  And it is a love that causes us to rejoice when it touches us.  It is a love that fills our hearts when we sit down to a meal with new friends, when we play with children, when we…

What do we have to learn?

What we can and must learn from indigenous cultures:
Western culture in general and American culture specifically defines personal success in terms of a person’s educational achievements, career identity/level of income and material possessions.Self-esteem is highly valued as a mark of a successful person. The danger for individuals and for society arises when people cannot live up to these expectations of success and they receive the message from their culture that there is no place for them in society.Because we live in an individualistic society, there is little room for community and so people are pushed out to the margins.Many living in isolation in the margins act out in dangerous and unhealthy ways that impact much more than the individual; they have grave impacts on society as a whole. Around the globe, there are small and large pockets of communities where indigenous cultures still thrive.Often these cultures are viewed as primitive, uneducated, unsophisticated, ignorant, or ev…

This Little Light of Mine...

I was looking back recently over photos that I took in Guatemala last June for a project that I am working on.  I came across two that I had not paid much attention to before, but which immediately warmed my heart.  The first was of a young girl at an orphanage that we visited, holding an even younger child.  I remembered how we were told that that older children often are tasked with helping to care for the younger ones there.  The second picture was of kids running in a field in their very poor neighborhood.  We were playing games like duck-duck-goose and red light/green light with them.

When we were kids, we used to sing the song "This Little Light of Mine..." on each of the four Sundays of Advent.  The more that I experience the light of others, the more I appreciate the beauty of this sentiment: let your light shine.  The power of this can sometimes get lost in a complex world facing many problems.  These humble experiences of joy can be overshadowed by all that there …