Slow down . . .
Throughout the fall we have been thinking together about The Lord’s Prayer. Each Sunday we have taken a close look into the prayer one phrase at a time. Now, as we near the end of this sermon series with just a few phrases left to go, I find that I have grown tremendously in my understanding and practice of the prayer.
In particular the union of heaven and earth has become real to me in a very different way than I had understood it before. I now have a very real sense of the energy of God reaching out toward us in such a way that God’s desire and ours are one: that all human beings might have shelter and food and peace and dignity.
As we approach the holidays these intentions are good things to keep in mind and, before life gets too full or feels too out of control, it is good to ponder for ourselves and to notice for our families which holiday activities will bring us hope, nurture peace, encourage us in joy and deepen our hearts in love.
Advent, the season of the church year that leads us to Christmas, will begin on Sunday, November 29. At that moment in time many of you will still be dealing with leftover turkey carcasses and unopened cans of cranberry sauce. What I want to suggest is that now is the time, well before Thanksgiving, to consider what our experience of the holiday might be if we slow down, buy less, eat less, and worry less.
What if this year, instead of arriving at Christmas Eve exhausted and spent, we instead took this time to prepare our hearts and our homes for hope, peace, joy and love to take root and flourish. Perhaps this year the purpose of our preparations might lead us to fling wide the doors of heart and home, ready to receive the light of the Christ Child come into the world again.
This year, as we prepare for Advent and as a symbol of that simplicity, I want to invite you to make your own Advent wreath. The process will be easy. All you need are 5 clean tin cans, the size that beans or tomatoes or olives usually come in. Bring those cans to church on Sunday, November 22 and together we will create free standing wreaths. In addition to your “wreaths” you will have a few words to say as you light your candles once a day, once a week, or all in a big flourish just before or on Christmas Eve.
Let’s take the time this year to deepen our connection with our sweet souls and with one another, with our neighbors near at hand and across the globe. Heaven and earth have a song to sing and we are invited to add our voice to the chorus: Peace on earth, goodwill to all!
Blessings + peace,
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Pastor Neil Allen
I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Queen Anne Christian Church, an amazing community of wise and thoughtful people.