Did you know that the word “conspire” can be defined as “to act or work together toward the same result or goal”? It also comes from the root of “spirare” which means to breathe and the root “con" which means together. One my teachers Fr. Richard Rohr uses conspire as an invitation for us to “breathe together”. Click on his name in the sentence above to find information on his daily mediations.
As Advent begins I invite you to breathe together with me and our community as we get curious about the “Advent Conspiracy”. If you were with us for our first mid-week Advent worship service we practiced the first tenet of Advent Conspiracy - we worshipped fully. Next Wednesday December 5 at 7pm we will reflect upon the practice of spending less. At mid-week worship we will also take time to breathe, to be grounded and connected to one another.
An Advent Resource table is ready for you next to the church office that includes a memory verse for each week of Advent along with handouts and activities. Consider these as tools to help you create space to breathe. One resource I have used for many years is to choose a “Spirit word” to walk with me at the beginning of a new year. You can find a hand out on the table about how to choose a word for the coming year. In our church year that new year begins this Sunday December 2 with the first Sunday in Advent.
For 2019 my word is “faith”. Closing out this year I have reflected on how last years’ word “enough” accompanied me in 2018. It provided me time and space to acknowledge how God’s grace is enough. The word enough has been part of the encouragement in finding a balance between work and rest, effort and ease. I have worked for openness in discerning when “enough is enough”.
Enough invited me into reflection on moderation. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness- 2 Corinthians 12:9 has provided the mantra of “God’s grace is enough”. The word sufficient can also be translated as enough. The song "My Grace is Enough" has been listened to many times this year and opened my heart.
The word enough let it be the Spirit reminding me- in my overdoing /when I am afraid I haven’t done enough- that God’s grace is enough and so am I. Time has been spent reflecting on ”How much is enough?”. It’s awesome to consider the power of a six-letter word. If you decide to choose a word for 2019 please share it with me. As your pastor it is such a gift and inspiration to hear the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others.
As I take time to breathe and find balance there is something new I am going to try. Starting this Saturday I am going to include in my daily journaling an “ABC of gratitude” list. On December 1, I will start with the letter A. Writing my list of all the “A’s” that come to mind for which I am grateful, like my sister Amanda, apples and artichokes, getting to live in the USA, and our Awesome new office Administrator Christin who is such a gift, will be day one.
The alphabet list will take me to the day after Christmas December 26. That day as I rest, I can get creative about the things with the letter Z for which I am giving God thanks. And if I forget a day I will practice graciousness. I know that there are take overs, re-do’s and try agains. Because there’s grace for that. If you would like to join me in this ABC of gratitude practice consider posting a comment on our Lord of the Hills facebook page with the letter of the day and what you are giving God thanks for on that day.
We are in this together. I have had the “A,B,C’s” on my mind as I am excited that we will have a special A, B, C’s of Christmas Children friendly (everyone gets to participate) 3pm Christmas Eve worship service. There are so many ways we get to be on this journey together. I hope you will take time this Advent season to catch your breath, worship fully and conspire with us on this journey of following Jesus.
May this be a blessed Advent for you as we conspire together.