As part of this years art, spirituality and reflections on Advent, Vanessa Elston leads this second podcast exploring the issue of risk, peace and the undefended life. This year the Moot Community at St Mary Aldermary are hosting a number of spiritual events to promote engagement with the season.
As part of this years art, spirituality and reflections on Advent, Vanessa Elston leads this first podcast exploring the issue of hope and being undefended. This year the Moot Community at St Mary Aldermary are hosting a number of spiritual events to promote engagement with the season. For more details on this, see the Events section of the Moot Website www.moot.uk.net
From this Sunday 27th November from 6.30pm, we start our Advent time of art and spiritual reflection. There will be a booklet at the suggested donation of £3 available to help get the benefit of engaging with advent as a spiritual season. Some information is available through the website section called Advent 2011. This includes content for personal weekly devotional reflection and for mini moots. Click here and look at the subsections on the left side menu.
On this fourth week of Advent, the Lectionary readings turn to focus on Joseph, and they are extremely relevant in our economic uncertain times. His betrothed was pregnant not by him, and he felt that God was directing him to marry her, and after the birth he was directed to get out of the area as the King was trying to murder all newly born children. That’s quite a lot of scandal and uncertainty – who says scandal is a modern thing?
But the texts show a Joseph who is able to live in the present, to cope with uncertainty and the breaking of many social taboos. He is living life on the edge. Joseph had very little reason to be happy at that first Christmas. His betrothed could be thought to have betrayed him, he had to travel to Bethlehem with a heavily pregnant woman where progress will have been very slow. Yet because of his faith he is able to bring great good out of the difficulty of the situation.
This Christmas, can we dare to try and be like Joseph? To look whatever chaos or difficulties comes along and still be trusting in God that good will come out of it? Joseph had very little to go on. He was probably surrounded by people who told him to get rid of Mary, that no good could come out of a woman like that. Yet his faith enabled him to see that God comes to us at times when we least expect it and in ways that we least expect.
All around us, every day of our lives we will hear the words of people who see doom and gloom and speak words of hopelessness. We the followers of Christ must be better than that, we have been assured of the future by the God of love who seeks to restore all things back into right relationship with the divine. Christians have a double calling in the now but not fully yet Kingdom of God – we are people who believe in the future, therefore we can live better today. We can see the beginnings of a new life right now, in the face of bay born in Bethlehem. This as Aaron would say, is a radical calling to live fully in the present for now and the future.
So here’s praying that you have a happy Christmas and a flourishing New Year!!
In this podcast of the Moot Contemplative Service on the Second Sunday of Advent 2010, Vanessa Elston draws on the two lectionary readings of the day (Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12) to explore the theme of faith being an invitation to open up the spiritual landscape our lives, led by a loving God. Vanessa goes further to the challenge of Moot’s Rhythm of Life, Spiritual Practices and Postures as the means by which God is seeking to inspire to digger deeper.
Well, we are facing a new liturgical year. From Sunday 24th October, Anglicans shifted gear counting time back from Trinity Sunday, to looking forward to the beginning of Advent. So yesterday Sunday 7th November is marked as the Third Sunday before Advent, a paradox time, where we shift from the celebration of the Trinity in Summer to the darkness and chill of the autumn and winter of Advent. So for those of you who are confused after the Moot Service on Sunday, Aaron was right as I asked to him to say that we have finished one season, and are in the period facing Advent, and the anticipation of this begins now, and arrives fully with the 1st Sunday of Advent on the 28th November. So we are in the in-between-time awaiting the season of Advent which is itself a season of waiting and expectancy.
One of the mistakes that many in contemporary culture makes, is that we are building up to Christmas. For Christians, Advent is about a season of respect for the figure of Mary in obedience to God’s call, and the awe and mystery of God coming in the form of a Human Being to express love and salvation to all humanity. The meaning of Advent in latin adventus is literally waiting. So this is a time for devotion and exploration of the real meaning of Advent, waiting and absence looking forward to the ultimate presence and love of God. The Season of Christmas does not begin until Christmas Day.
So why is marking time with liturgical seasons important? I would suggest that it helps us to be more deeply connected to creation and the created order. If we believe in ecological justice, then our participation and awareness of the seasons are an important part of our lives, that have shaped humanity for centuries, and classically the cycles of life, growth, testing, crucifixion and resurrection. To be disconnected from is impoverishes our humanity.
For those of you who were at the service this past Sunday, here is the text of the poem I read as part of the meditation; I wrote it as my final project for an arts course at my undergraduate university and just felt it fit well with this week’s theme of wandering, identity, and belonging…
Dirty, beautiful, strange, familiar
The city is the cocoon from which I emerged
A long time gone,
The prodigal son
Every city still feels like my own,
Still feels like my home
Prodigal not by my own decision
Every parting an incision
On the flesh of my heart
Too long gone I feel claustrophobic
Like a child too long mothered
By an oppressive parent
The city, every city–my city–
Striking in its contrasts
Its rich, its poor, its ugly beautiful pasts
Its freedom, its oppression
All the cause of my obsession
I love each place
I can’t help having a taste
For all it has to offer
Every nation and race
Wish I had come of age
On this stage
With every turn of the page
With every turn of the corner
Crossing invisible borders
Don’t look at me and say
Where you belong you should stay
You look through me, not at me
Your vacant eyes looking past me
“If you’re not from here don’t come here”
I see the words in your eyes
As you cut me down to a size
That fits in your little world
But I am rootless and free
Can be who
And where I think I should be
Don’t try and reprimand
A thing you don’t understand
What you never learned to comprehend
Every two years a new land
I am California, Colorado, Florida, D.C.
I am Boston and L.A. and every city I see
If art is an expression of self
Is the reflection of self
Then listen to me as I tell
How I see my life
And my love
And my perception of self
In every face on the street
How every city I meet
Opens up a new world
That extends out of the old
I have no luxury of hometown
No one place to settle down
I am a city girl that has been displaced
A casualty of just the way I was raised
To be unattached
So the pain doesn’t last
To be independent and strong
So when I have to move on
The change doesn’t kill me
Doesn’t break me and fill me
And now twenty years later
I have found a way to cater
To the lost feeling inside me
By choosing to find me
Myself and my home
In every place that I go
My soul in every city, not one
So I don’t have to feel so alone
So that before long
I can feel I belong
In a place that from my birth I had no claim on
So think and feel what you will
But do not doubt what you’re told
And that I tell what I feel
And that the city
Is my home
The why and the where and the reason I roam
The reason I hope
That I will one day no longer be a nomad
And finally become someone with a land.
Please do listen to the podcast of the reflection and homily.