Friday, December 21, 2007

The Centered Life as an Advent Life

Recently, I was at my friends Ken and Carol’s house where I came across an Advent reflection in a magazine dedicated to the spiritual life. This particular reflection was written by Mark S. Hanson, Bishop of the Evangelical Church in America, and focuses on the living of a centered life.

I always seem to come across interesting and insightful quotes and articles in my travels! Maybe it’s to do with the places to which I travel and the people I visit! Regardless, I often find myself scribbling down on scraps of paper the thoughts and insights of others that resonate with me and that, accordingly, I feel compelled to share with others - often via The Wild Reed.

So, here for your consideration are excerpts from Bishop Hanson’s reflection on the centered life as an Advent life.

A centered life acknowledges that life is a dramatic mixture of brokenness and grace. . . . A centered life is cruciform: daily holding in tension the call to honor and cultivate one’s deepest self and the command to die to one’s ego, to pick up the cross and follow Jesus into a word of suffering, death, and imbalance.

A centered life is an Advent life: not being so immersed in achieving balance in the present moment that we fail to get up on our tiptoes to lean expectantly into God’s prominent future – Christ Jesus. The central life is one of thanksgiving, awe, and wonder.

In a marvelous sermon titled, “Peace as Rest and Movement,” theologian Joseph Sitter wrote: “When the world is regarded as a succulent resource to be squeezed for its juice of joy, it turns out to be a thief, a liar, and a cheat. When the world is received as a gift . . . it can be rightly enjoyed and justly used. The peace of God as rest, whose gift is to have no anxiety about anything, fulfills itself in a peace of God as movement which goues out with holy concern about everything. The peace of God as rest in God’s acceptance of [humans] is not a knowledge that the world can deliver, is not in fact concerned with the world at all. But this sense of peace . . . matures to turn upon the world with a deep constructive joy, knows that the peaceless world is precisely the place for the working out of God’s will for truth, justice, purity, beauty. And therefore commands, ‘think about these things.’ ” (The Care of the Earth and Other University Sermons; Fortress Press, 1964).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Advent Thoughts
My Advent Prayer for the Church
Thomas Merton on “the Advent Mystery”
Joy: The Most Infallible Sign of God’s Presence

Image: “Spiral Aloe” by Pei-Pei Ketron.

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