Oakland church

Archive for Advent

Darkness, Blessings, & Miracles

Marilynne Robinson is an American novelist and essayist. She has received several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005 and the 2012 National Humanities Medal. I recently heard a recorded interview between President Obama and Marilynne Robinson, (here on itunes or transcript) on the subject of faith and democracy. It was conversation relevant for us all, particularly in these times of deep darkness, and in this season of advent. In her book, “Gilead“, she writes: 

“Now that I look back, it seems to me that in all that deep darkness a miracle was preparing. So I am right to remember it as a blessed time, and myself as waiting in confidence, even if I had no idea what I was waiting for.” 

“There is a reality in blessing….It doesn’t enhance sacredness, but it acknowledges it, and there is a power in that.”

Peace and Blessings, Pastor Laurie

“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”

Dear Ones,

 In this season, God is inviting us to make room in our hearts and in our lives.

 Whatever outward expression Advent takes for us, Christ calls us to open our heart to welcome him anew.

“Let every heart prepare him room” we hear in the lines of one Christmas hymn.450x299xAway-in-a-Manger.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DzbaKxVhch

 “God will speak peace to the people…to those who turn to God in their hearts” one of the Advent psalms tells us.

But what does it mean for us to do this? What does it look like to prepare our heart to welcome the God who comes to us? Are we certain we want this in the first place? Jesus, after all, is hardly a tidy guest. When he arrives, he is always turning things upside down. He sees more than we sometimes wish he would see, knows us more thoroughly than is comfortable, embraces us as he finds us but does not leave us there.

Prepare him room!  Blessings, Pastor Laurie

God’s Time

Gods_ClockAdvent begins. A season where, in  patience, we dwell in God’s time; that is to say, the time beyond this world, this solar system, this galaxy, this universe, beyond all imagining.

There we find peace that passes all understanding. In Hinduism, patience is one of the thousand names of God.

When I say God I don’t mean an old white man with a beard up in the sky. I mean something ultimate and mysterious that defies definition and description, but which represents the deepest and truest and holiest things we know or dream or wish for. In that sense and that spirit I’d like to offer  a prayer by a man named Ted Loder, a prayer of waiting:

O God of all seasons and senses,
Grant me your sense of timing
To submit gracefully
And rejoice quietly
In the turn of the seasons.
In this season of short days and long nights,
Of grey and white and cold,
Teach me the lessons of waiting:
Of the snow joining the mystery
Of the hunkered-down seeds
Growing in their sleep
Watched over by gnarled-limbed, grandparent trees
Resting from autumn’s staggering energy;
Of the silent, whirling earth
Circling to race back home to the sun.
O God, grant me your sense of timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,sun and snow
Of grey and white and cold,
Teach me the lessons of endings:
Children growing,
Friends leaving,
Jobs concluding,
Stages finishing,
Grieving over,
Grudges over,
Blaming over,
Excuses over.
O God, grant me your sense of timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,
Of grey and white and cold,
Teach me the lessons of beginnings:
That such waitings and endings
May be a starting place,
A planting of seeds
Which bring to birth
What is ready to be born—
Something right and just and different,
A new song,
A deeper relationship,
A fuller love—
In the fullness of your time.
O God, grant me your sense of timing.

Blessings, Pastor Laurie