This evening as our congregation at Beacon UMC goes through part 2 of the Advent Conspiracy, we will practice Lectio divina as we encounter Scripture. It’s another way of allowing Scripture to read us, instead of us assuming we know what we’ll find in the text.
…so the New Jersey Billboard, sponsored by Atheists.org, invited. The website claims that millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along. In the end, this campaign–this claim–is really to fight for intolerance and ignorance, the site says. This war that they’ve taken upon themselves to fight (their words, not mine), is a war on false gods, false prophets and false promises. How does a person of faith respond to the assertion that Christmas (and Jesus and Christianity for that matter) is a lie; a fable?
In the end, the site says, humans have to accept reality…as reality. The assumption here is that since we can’t really prove anything in the Bible, we’re just gonna have to “know” what’s real just as we would know anything. I think they just made a case for faith.
This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent–a season in the Christian calendar that asks us to pause and wait for the coming of the Messiah. But how do we do that when the minute thanksgiving passes, we are ready to fall in line for black Friday sales at the crack of dawn, have already stressed out about how we don’t have enough money to buy all the obligatory gifts for all the people in our lives and when we wish the Christmas rush was over even before it has begun. How is it that the one season that should be the easiest to proclaim who we are as a people of faith–as Christians–is oftentimes the hardest. We find ourselves going through the entire season of Advent and sailing on through the new year without pausing to remember the divine who became flesh to dwell among us.
The congregation where I serve and worship is going to try something new this year. I’m leading us in a reorienting of the ways we can prepare for Christ’s coming into our lives. Using materials created by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder, we will rethink what it means to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.
Our task this first week is to unpack what it means to worship fully. How do our lives reflect that we worship God incarnrate? How are the ways we spend our money, time and energy fully worshiping God? What is it that we desire during this season? The latest gadget? The dream vacation? What’s really in our hearts? Is it the peace, love, rest that we find in Jesus? (probably not).
What does it mean to worship fully? And how do we do this in a world that clamors for our attention in ways that are counter-cultural to our Christian calling?
For more on the Advent Conspiracy, visit their site.