; charset=UTF-8" /> Reflections With Fellow Sojourners: In a Sacred Time : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

Reflections With Fellow Sojourners: In a Sacred Time

By Rev. Dr. James D. Findlay

“So hallowed, and so gracious, is that time.”
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1

     We are truly living in hallowed and gracious time.  Marcellus speaks these lines, carved by Shakespeare’s pen long ago, as the tragic tale of Hamlet begins: spirits of the dead roam the earth, trouble and treachery reign in high and low places, and Hamlet feels he must deal with pain from the past, yet he is uncertain how to proceed.  And even as our world remains troubled, painful, and uncertain, we can say with Marcellus: “so hallowed and gracious is this time.”

     Why do we say this?  Because it is the Advent season!  We do not say the time is hallowed because a large volume of the total sales in the retail industry will occur in these weeks.  We do not say the time is gracious because we feel duty-bound to buy and receive gifts, even if the spirit is not willing and the checking account is weak.  We say the time is hallowed and gracious because we are preparing for One who is Coming.  And we are waiting.

     Yes, Advent is meant to be a time of stillness and preparation, rather than busy-ness and bustling.  Not hectic, but hallowed by anticipation.  Not stressful, accompanied by piped-in commercial music, but made gracious by times and spaces of silence, and of hymns in a gentle minor key.  The Christ is coming – but has not yet arrived.  And so we wait.

     During these days, when an investigation into the possible poisoning of Yasser Arafat and of Palestine’s recognition as an observer state by the UN General Assembly have occurred, the Collegium of Ministers of the UCC has offered a strikingly timely way to ponder what gifts we will buy and what to avoid.  They suggest avoiding products linked to Israel’s unjust occupation of Palestinian lands, and to support the community in today’s Bethlehem by giving the gift of the planting of olive trees. (To give, or consider doing so, visit here: http://globalministries.org/mee/projects/keep-hope-alive-olive-tree-plan.html).  In our witness for justice during Advent, “so hallowed and gracious is the time.”

     But beyond gift-giving, and the stress and rush of what our surrounding culture suggests, we can truly celebrate Advent’s blessed “not-yet” sacred quality.  Rather than “wanting it to be Christmas,” we can savor the days we have, and slow down while others speed up.  As the days shorten and the nights lengthen, we can honor the beauty, power, and creativity of darkness – and be still.  As the world and its systems show more than ever that they do not work, we can rest assured of what is certain: that God’s love is eternal, ever-present, never-failing.  And in the deepening darkness, we do not grasp or grumble.  We wait.  We trust.  We are sure, even though we do not see.

     May each of us, as we are able, and as we are led, claim time and space for self-reflection, for meditation, for consideration of the beauty of darkness, of depth, of rest, of quiet.  May we listen for the voice of God in the voices of children, the voices of the birds, the voice of the damp winter winds.  This Advent, may we see ourselves, with Mary, as pregnant with the Christ, who is ready to be born again in us, ready to bless us with Divine Light, and through us to bless the world.  Let us wait, and watch, and pray.  “So hallowed and gracious is the time.”

Note from author:  Please feel free to post here at the Conference website, or contact me via e-mail at sleight_of_time@yahoo.com. I wish to engender a conversation among us about how the Word and Spirit are active in our lives, and how we might nurture these gifts further. I also am happy to work with groups and individuals on how to nurture the Word and Spirit among us. Please visit my Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Accompaniment-Services/219750211459838 as another way of being in this sacred conversation. I look forward to hearing from many of you soon!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free