December 14, 2014

Second Advent: Show Up

During Advent I have been participating in creating an Advent calendar filled with images matching words suggested by the Society of St. John daily Advent word. You can sign up to get their meditation in your email inbox each day.   

This week the words were “Show Up”, “Respond”, “Encourage”, “Wake Up”, “Breathe”, “Act”, and “Risk”. The first thing that came to my mind in relation to this series is something I heard on a Cursillo weekend many years ago.
One of the priests shared a mantra he used: “Show Up, Tell the Truth, Pay Attention, and Don’t get Attached to the Results”. This saying actually encompasses all of life, but especially the words this week.
We first need to Show up to God and Show up to life. When we are really present we can Respond to one another actively and be available to encourage each other. That’s a way of ‘telling the truth’. When we Wake up and Breathe we find that we can really ‘Pay Attention’ to what’s happening in and around us. We can look for God’s action and presence in the world and in our lives, and in the lives of all those we meet.
Finally, the mantra suggests that we “Don’t get attached to the results”. In other words, we must let go of control and let God take over. Certainly that’s one of the harder aspects of living into this saying. The words Act and Risk which close out the week are reminders that if and when we let God be in charge, we can act without fear and even take risks that we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. We might take on a ministry, or start a new job, or plan a trip that might seem impossible.  

You’ll see that the images I chose this week cover a wide range of things, from goldfish in a pond, to a bouquet of hair ribbons, and standing on the edge of a canyon. For me, these are images that reinforce the idea that God is not just in church, but in every moment of every day. We all need the little reminders of the Holy One. Anything can be what the Celts call a ‘thin place’ where God breaks in. Even a pink Christmas pig in the neighbor’s front yard can signify God’s active presence just as much as the dawn breaking over the horizon. When we can see God in each thing and each moment, it might just be easier to “show up, tell the truth, pay attention, and don’t get attached to the results” because God really IS in charge! 
Next week’s words are: Expand, Focus, Experience, Become, Beautify, Heal, and Thank. As we draw closer to the arrival of the “Long Expected Jesus” we will want to look at, experience, and live into those words and discover images to fit them.

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