Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living la Vida Loca!-the call to live in reality

Sunday 14th December 2008.Readings for Advent 3 Isaiah 61:1-11; Psalm 126, I Thess 5:12-28; John 1:6-28

What is your lifestyle choice? This is something of a modern question.
Today's readings invite us to identify our lifestyle
as Christian

How do you live faithfully as a modern Christian day to day?
Once again we have a pattern for faithful living
in each of the three readings.

One thing that is striking
is that "faithful living"
is not lived out in a vacuum,
but rather is the act of living vigorously and actively
in this world in which we find ourselves.
Though many religious words are used,
the emphasis of the passages
is not on the narrowly pietistic
it is on the dynamically active
a life lived
in full communion with God
and totally engaged with human life.
Fully in communion with God,
totally engaged with human life.
These themes flow through all the readings
but in this reflection I will focus on the reading from 1Thessalonians
6Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets,but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24

The call to worship
I am struck always when I read this passage of its absolute nature..."always" & "in all circumstances" & "without ceasing"
Paul anticipates here that worship will not be an occasional, Sunday-only, type of activity
It will be all of life.
Two points can be made about this.
One, we need to get down and do it!!!

We need to do it.
So find the place and start.
Pray daily, for your family, for yourself
for your concerns.
Decide that this is a life-habit
that you are going to commit to and do it.
Try, too, to seize the opportunity to turn your day to day activities
into deliberate, unobtrusive prayer.
Some years ago I was asked by a woman
who was very upset about blasphemy
"What do you do you when people punctuate there speech with "Jesus!", this and "Jesus" that!"
My response was that I try and use this as an opportunity to pray.
It's not always easy.
We can find our own little ways to be more attentive to the need to pray constantly.
One of the great benefits of afternoon and evening walks is that we can use the opportunity
to give thanks to God for our local environment
and to pray for our neighbours.
This may not work for you....but find something that turns your heart to God
is a GOOD thing
and we will reap benefits.
The great traditions of meditation call us to "mindfulness"
not just allowing our day to day experiences
to go to waste
While we might take this to mean that we "should take time to smell the flowers"
and we should
it also means that we should treasure our daily emotional and spiritual experiences.
How often do we have ups and downs...and simply not do anything about them
other than fret!!!
Take time to debrief yourself
and commit to God
The American farmer-poet Wendell Berry
reminds that we are called to engage with life
He says we are called to live the given life not the planned life.
It is a reminder that what ever else we think we are to do
we are in danger of avoiding living the life we are given
in favour of the life we think we should have
or that we so desperately long to live.
We are called to live the given life...not the planned
being mindful of what we have.
The kings missed the Christ child
because their plan had him somewhere else.
In this season of vida loca
we are called back to the given life
and Christ really present with us

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