December 6 Edevotional
ADVENT REFLECTION ONE
(this was written for the 9 a.m. reflection time for December 3. Join us before worship, 9 a.m. for Advent Two)
1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Where do we find the preparation, the Making Room for the Good News taking place? How does Mark have us make room?
The social sciences researcher, professor and author, Brene Brown begins her recent book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest For True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, also in the wilderness. She tells of her preparation for writing a new book by filling her mind with the courageous men and women who are her role models. “My oldest and most steadfast counselor is Maya Angelou,” Brown writes. I collected every Angelou book, poem, and interview I could find, and her words taught me, pushed me, and healed me. She managed to be both full of joy and unsparing. But there was one quote from Maya Angelou that I deeply disagreed with. It was a quote on belonging, which I came across when I was teaching a course on race and class at the University of Houston. In an interview with Bill Moyers that aired on public television in 1973, Dr. Angelou said:
You are only free when you realize you belong no place–you belong every place–no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.
“I can remember exactly what I thought when I read that quote,” Brown writes. “That’s just wrong. What kind of world would it be if we belonged nowhere? Just a bunch of lonely people coexisting. I don’t think she understands the power of belonging. We must belong to something, to someone, to somewhere.”
What do you think and/or feel or experience when you hear Maya Angelou’s quote?
Brown goes on to write about her own process and the process of others she studied of coming to understand that true belonging is not something we achieve or accomplish with others; it’s something we carry in our heart. Belonging to ourselves means being called to stand alone—to brave the wilderness of uncertainty, vulnerability, and criticism.
Letting go of our fear of separateness, aloneness.
Making Room for a deeper spiritual connection to our shared humanity.
Belonging so fully to God in yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness—an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand. The special courage it takes to experience true belonging is not just about braving the wilderness, it’s about becoming the wilderness.
Where is the wilderness for you? Do you feel you have already or could become the wilderness?
Sunday, December 10
9:00am Advent Reflections for Adults
10:00am Worship and Children and Youth Advent Skit
Thursday, December 14
10:00am Martha Circle