"We have to allow ourselves to be drawn into sacred space, into liminality. All transformation takes place here. We have to allow ourselves to be drawn out of "business as usual" and remain patiently on the "threshold" ( limen, in Latin)...where genuine newness can begin."
Advent, the four weeks before Christmas on the Christian liturgical calendar, is meant to be a time for us to sit with the way things really are, hold them tenderly and gently, to wait and remember, deep down in our bones, how things are really meant to be. Advent is about saying there is this beautiful world we all want to believe in and be living in. And there is a terrible not-yet-ness about that world. Advent is about facing the truth of what is right now, and remembering what it takes to get to a Christmas kind of world.
But, let's face it. That's not always so easy. We have mortgages to pay and presents to buy and trees to decorate. We've got office parties to go to and Christmas specials to watch and...then on top of that...who really wants to stop and reflect where there's so much that's so horrible about the state of the world right now? Reflect on that very long and all you want to do is drink a full quart of egg nog and eat all the Christmas fudge. Seriously. All. Of. It.
But maybe, just maybe...doing what is NOT the same, is the only way anything new can ever happen.
And maybe Advent is the call we need to stop what we're doing - what we should do, and need to do, and can do - and just stop DOING for a few moments...step out of our normal lives, and step into a different kind of experience, out of the usual into the liminal. Slap ourselves out of it...out of our ordinary lives, into a different way of seeing and knowing, and believing, breathing. Living.
Each Sunday we will offer a short liturgy - just about 5 minutes long - that you can listen to and participate in, in whatever way feels comfortable for you. You access it just like you would a podcast, and each week will include reflection on one of the themes of the season, Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Each will include a time for lament and confession, a reading from the lectionary, prayer and some music from our house band, The Many.
Each will hopefully help us think about the world Jesus came to show us was possible, a world where the hungry have food, refugees and exiles are welcomed, the oppressed go free, swords and guns and bombs are turned into plowshares, and where all belong.
You may want to light a candle as you join in this ritual. You may want to kneel or sit with your feet solidly on the ground. You may want to do it alone, or share it with your family or small group. You may want to combine this with one of the many wonderful daily Advent readings that are available - one that looks particularly good this year is called Keep Watch With Me
Sunday Dec. 3: Hope.
Sunday, Dec. 10: Peace.
Sunday, Dec. 17: Joy
Sunday, Dec. 24: Love
Our hope is that these "liturgicasts" will help you enter into Advent in a way that isn't just head-centered but that also welcomes your body and spirit. Our hope is that you can find that liminal space this Advent that will help you shake up the normal, and refute the stories of scarcity and fear that surround us, and that will allow you to experience the world-altering, unshakeable Love that has already come, and is coming still.
And by the way, if you haven't yet had a chance to download The Many's Advent/Christmas album, here's a link. It's free through the end of December - our Christmas gift to you. We hope you enjoy it...and please feel free to share the link with friends.