Week One: Opening
Leader: We are beginning a reflective journey together during the Advent/Christmas season that reminds us that the Sacred can be found everywhere, and perhaps in the least expected moments and places. In our Advent/Christmas worship, we are reminded that “God loves us by becoming us.” We are a reflection of the sacred, and we are training our senses to see that sacredness in others, and in all things.
Let us light a candle, take a deep breath, and pray together:
Living God, Christ Mystery, Spirit of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace,
we give you thanks for this holy moment together.
As we take in the light you offer,
may we be a reflection of your light,
expanding our sacred time “right now”
into the sacred memory of “always and for all time.”
Quotes Ancient and New
Romans 13:11-12, 14 (Contemporary English Version)
11 You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12 Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light.
14 Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.
Every Thing is Sacred, “Reflection 5: Contemplation”
“Fr. Richard tells us that in order to gain a new understanding of the world in times of great uncertainty, we have to ‘proceed by indirection, by waiting, and by the practice of attentiveness (page 6, The Universal Christ). We have to wait ‘patiently for the gaps to be filled in’ (page 8, The Universal Christ).
The term “prime time” is used to describe the best time to catch a television audience, the best time of life or the best two day shipping that brings millions of products to your front door with a click. But the verb form gives us a picture of making something ready for use or an action like “priming” a pump to bring fresh water from a well.
Through the lens of Christ’s Church the four weeks leading up to Christmas is “prime time.” We are making ourselves ready to commemorate the revelation of Christ into our world and also looking forward to His return in the fullness of time. Yet, if in some mysterious way the Kingdom of God is where God’s people reflect the sacred, then maybe some of our waiting is over.
This is the Hope week of Advent in "Reflecting the Sacred" where we look at passages in scripture that talk about time and awareness.
On the idea of waiting, Joseph Nolan has written a poem called “The whole earth’s a waiting room.” I love how the ending speaks to this idea of active waiting, like preparing ourselves for a new awareness. We wait—all day long, for planes and buses, for dates and appointments, for five o’clock and Friday. Some of us wait for a Second Coming. For God in a whirlwind. Paratrooper Christ. All around us people are waiting: a child, for attention; a spouse, for conversation; a parent, for a letter or call. The prisoner waits for freedom; and the exile, to come home. The hungry, for food; and the lonely, for a friend. The whole earth’s a waiting room! “The Savior will see you now” is what we expect to hear at the end. Maybe we should raise our expectations. The Savior might see us now if we know how to find him. Could it be that Jesus, too, is waiting for us to know he is around?*
Are we open to being surprised at what God can bring through Jesus Christ--even today? I wonder if we might create space and time during this season to contemplate what it truly means that “an entire earth and humanity [is] warmed by the Word becoming flesh. It’s prime time to sit with such a beautiful mystery.
You may have already spent time journaling so if you have, simply read what you have already written for this week in your journal. If you have not written anything, we will take 5 minutes (feel free to extend the time if the group desires) to write whatever comes to us when we encounter the question for this week:
How can I stay present with others this week and shine as a beacon of hope?
We all go through life changes. Think of a significant life change that seemed like it was going to do you in, but eventually brought you a new sense of life.
Leader: In our conversation, everyone is invited to share, but sharing is not required. Please make room for all voices, keeping your contribution to a respectful time limit so everyone has a chance to speak. Whatever is said here stays here – not because we are telling secrets, but because we honor that what a person says here is their story to share.
I invite you to share something from your journaling or just thoughts that are bubbling up. We will allow uninterrupted speaking on the first round and then open it up for responses to each other. Remember, no one is “right or wrong” when it comes to our understanding of the sacred. We notice what we notice on our faith journey, and no one perspective will be the same. A good way to begin to respond to someone is “I appreciated your reflection about…”
Invitation for Sunday
We are "setting" the altar together by bringing something that represents the "Sacred" to you or how you experiencing God in your life right now. That means something is shining and shimmering and making you aware of a world soaked with Presence. So bring something shiny, glittery or reflective and we will begin setting an altar to Reflect the Sacred!
Let us read this benediction, taken from our weekly worship, together…
When you see lights twinkle,
when you catch a reflection in a mirror,
when you notice the sunlight dancing on a surface
or a nightlight glowing in the darkness,
let these be signs that the Christ Light is revealed
again and again in and through this world.
Know that your brilliant presence
is pouring more hope, love, joy, and peace into a weary world.
God loved us by becoming us.
This means you are already
reflecting the sacred.
In the name of the Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit.