Journeying the Way of Love in Advent

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Advent is one of those seasons that crawls by when you’re a child and flies by when you’re an adult. Either way, time seems fluid during Advent. When we fight against time, either trying to rush it or slow it down, we can lose our ability to live in the moment. We become lost in anticipation of things we desire, whether that is a worldly desire for some perfected ideal of Christmas or a worldly desire for more time to prepare for that ideal Christmas. No matter, we are unable to live in the moment, and we become less aware of God’s inbreaking in the mundane moments of our life.

There are, however, ways to counter this tendency. In my experience, a spiritual practice, particularly one that expects a few moments a day to re-center our focus, can help reground us and open us to the possibility of Emmanuel, “God with us.” Often these efforts, these daily practices, remove us from the fluid ticking of what the Greeks called chronos time and open us to the God-infused moments of kairos time.

But spiritual practices are complicated, requiring books, spiritual directors, and years of experience. Moreover, most spiritual practices depend on one’s own personality and spiritual outlook. Yet, many of us have engaged in spiritual practices, even if that is not what we would have called it. Whether it is daily prayer, weekly bible studies, or a cup of coffee on the back porch while watching the sunrise. Each of these is the beginning of a spiritual practice. But what we may need is consistency.

In this regard, I am encouraging the people of Zion to take up the Way of Love for Advent. This easily accessible program, developed by the National Church, encourages us in a daily practice and rule of life, a pattern, for us to follow. I hope that we may open ourselves to the kairos-laden time of Advent. Begin your journey by downloading the Advent Calendar found here. By following the daily instructions in the calendar, you can begin a new pattern and spiritual practice.

Below is a brief introduction to the Way of Love and an explanation of an Advent calendar to help you begin your spiritual practice. Each day there will be a written or video reflection to further reflect on this spiritual journey available here. Finally, you are invited to join us each Sunday for our Sunday Forum at 9:15 am, where we will discuss further The Way of Love by reflecting on the birth narrative in the first two chapters of Luke.

Introducing The Way of Love

Copied from Journeying the Way of Love: Advent Curriculum (The Episcopal Church, 2021, pp 5-6),

The Way of Love is one type of spiritual practice or rule of life. This is not the only such spiritual rule. There are other ancient spiritual rules of life, such as the Rule of St. Benedict or more contemporary ones like the Rule of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the Rule of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, or the Restoration Project’s rule for the modern disciple. A spiritual rule of life is a purposeful tool to help us grow into a more meaningful life with God. As such, following the practices in the Way of Love can change one’s relationship with God, ourselves, and others with whom we share the earth.

The Way of Love invites us to a rule of life that leads to incarnating Divine Love in the world, so it is appropriate to initiate a journey on the Way of Love during Advent, the season we slow

down to get ready to welcome Jesus, God incarnate, anew. The Way of Love focuses on seven

different spiritual practices. On your Journeying the Way of Love Advent Calendar you’ll notice

each week follows a pattern.

Sunday: Worship

Gather in community weekly to thank, praise, and dwell with God

When we worship, we gather with others before God. We hear the Good News of Jesus

Christ, give thanks, confess, and offer the brokenness of the world to God. As we break

bread, our eyes are opened to the presence of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit,

we are made one body, the body of Christ sent forth to live the Way of Love.

Monday: Go

Cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus

As Jesus went to the highways and byways, he sends us beyond our circles and

comfort, to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God with our lips and with our lives.

We go to listen with humility and to join God in healing a hurting world. We go to become

Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with God and one another.

Tuesday: Learn

Reflect on Scripture each day, especially on Jesus’ life and teachings.

By reading and reflecting on Scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus, we

draw near to God and God’s word dwells in us. When we open our minds and hearts to

Scripture, we learn to see God’s story and God’s activity in everyday life.

Wednesday: Pray

Dwell intentionally with God daily

Jesus teaches us to come before God with humble hearts, boldly offering our

thanksgivings and concerns to God or simply listening for God’s voice in our lives and in

the world. Whether in thought, word or deed, individually or corporately, when we pray

we invite and dwell in God’s loving presence.

Thursday: Bless

Share faith and unselfishly give and serve

Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name. We are

empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and

compassion and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and

selfless actions. We can share our stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love.

Friday: Turn

Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus

Like the disciples, we are called by Jesus to follow the Way of Love. With God’s help, we

can turn from the powers of sin, hatred, fear, injustice, and oppression toward the way of

truth, love, hope, justice, and freedom. In turning, we reorient our lives to Jesus Christ,

falling in love again, again, and again.

Saturday: Rest

Receive the gift of God’s grace, peace, and restoration

From the beginning of creation, God has established the sacred pattern of going and

returning, labor and rest. Especially today, God invites us to dedicate time for restoration

and wholeness - within our bodies, minds, and souls, and within our communities and

institutions. By resting we place our trust in God, the primary actor who brings all things

to their fullness.

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