The discussion at the Advent gathering last evening focused on a theme similar to the prior week when we discussed the reaction to losses and how it opened up new opportunities. And what can we get rid of to streamline our lives and eliminate the things that hold us back? This evening we started with a question, what could we give up of our past that would allow the future to be better. I held my tongue because I'm a private person and fear that I do not articulate my thoughts very well. but also because I feel my thoughts and words would have been similar to talking about the existence of Santa Claus before a believing child.
What transition am I amid that would render me different and hopefully better? I continue to question everything: why are there seven days in a week, why is church service at 11:00AM, why do some churches serve Communion weekly while others do it monthly and some even just a few times in a year, like at Christmas and Easter? Why do we do a Christmas tree, lights, ornaments? How does this express love for either God or our neighbors?
Decorating with people is what Gail talked about in her Moment of Concern at church Sunday. It was one of the devotions from our Advent calendar. It's about sharing love with others even at the cost of not following some of the Christmas traditions.
What I'm thinking is both so different than the traditions with which I grew up and yet so consistent with the values that I have come to cherish. Why should I have to wait for some ordained person to offer me the opportunity to share a meal with my God or to remember how sharing a meal is the essence of sharing one's self? I shouldn't have to wait for a paper from the government so that I enter into a relationship of love with another. I shouldn't have to wait for the dark of winter to give of myself to others. I shouldn't have to wait for a new calendar from the hardware store to resolve that I am going to respect the environment and help others less fortunate than I.
Strip away the glister and the lights, the rites and the traditions, the controversial stories and theology, and just love God and our friends and foes. Love God with a smile at sunrise and sunset, when a bird flies by or a tree waves in the breeze. Love God at all times counting your blessings. Love God by loving life and all those around you.
Now you understand why I hesitate to say anything at the gathering. I ramble.