Hurry up…wait! That is the Advent pace.
There is a voice of urgency sounding from the periphery, getting louder and louder. “Make ready!” “Change your ways!” “Clear out the obstructions!” At the same time, its “Be patient.” “Be observant.” “Be vigilant.” This is just one more spiritual paradox. Could this Advent pace be more of an attitude than a behaviour? The prophet Isaiah suggests that we “wait upon the Lord.” What would that kind of waiting look like? Perhaps it might be active yet mindful, engaged yet disengaged, people-focused rather than task-focused, involved yet noticing beauty, simplicity and mystery. Don’t be so busy you miss out on the chance to wait.
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. What images and impressions come to mind as you read or hear the text?
James 5:7-10 New Revised Standard Version
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Reflect on these questions for a few moments in silence, then turn to another person and discuss.
- Can you recall a time you had no patience and you had to wait? (for a test result, a child to be born, a teenager’s curfew hour…)
- Can you distinguish between those times when it is appropriate to wait and those times you must act? (with church and home decisions, regarding the community and the environment…)
- Even though this can be a wonderfully busy and active time of year, God invites us to take on spiritual practice of patience and waiting. How can you make your Christmas preparations a spiritual practice of presence and patience?
After a few minutes bring the small group discussion to a close and invite people to talk about their insights and reflections in the larger group.
Invite people into a 3 minute silence.
Taking on a posture of prayer. Breathe slowly and deeply. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the love of Jesus and the renewing of the Spirit. Conclude the silence by offering this Advent Collect.
God of power and mercy,
you call us once again
to celebrate the coming of your Son.
Remove those things which hinder love of you,
that when he comes,
he may find us waiting in awe and wonder
for him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Good News has been known in your time together.