Tag Archives: Advent

Keep Watch With Me – 12/7/19

‪“Sometimes hope must be sung.”

Truth. Hope is a powerful, yet a distant thing for many of us. In this season of Advent, we are invited to train ourselves to live in hope. And what better way to live in hope than to live in song. Sing a joyful noise in hope. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Sing like the song bird greets the morning sunrise, in hope of the new day. Sing with joyful hope and let your song lift in praise to God.




–quote from Keep Watch With Me, An Advent Reader for Peacemakers, by Claire Brown and Michael T McRay.

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The Midwife of God

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the holy and say,

“I need shelter for the night,

please take me inside your heart, my time is close.”

Then, under the roof of your being,

you will witness the sublime intimacy,

the Anointed One will take birth inside you,

as the Virgin grasps your hands for help,

for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yes, there, under the dome of your being Creation comes into existence, through your womb, dear pilgrim— the sacred womb of your soul,

as God grasps our arms for help;

for each of us is a beloved servant never far,

so yes, if you want

the Virgin will come walking down the street toward you pregnant with light and singing.

The Midwife of God, by Juan de la Cruz [St. John of the Cross] (1542–1591)

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Keep Watch With Me – 12/1/19

This Advent season, I am journeying with a number of authors who contributed to Keep Watch With Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers. It’s a book filled with daily reflections about what it means to be a peacemaker, while being one who longs for Christ and for the fulfillment of hope and the coming of Christ’s kingdom of peace.

Hope is hard. But, hope is necessary. A world without hope is dead. The coming of Christ, both in the past at his birth, and in the future at his second coming, promise us the coming of hope in our world…both in the here and now, and in the kingdom to come. We cannot know how or when this will happen. But we hope.

Advent is all about waiting. It is about patience, expectation, and longing. We wait in hope for the arrival of something better than what we have now. This is a joyful hope. But Advent is about ache too, because longing and waiting are also painful experiences.

One thing that brings me immense joy is knowing that others also are longing and waiting in hope for something better. We are not alone. We are blessed with community and rich traditions that bring us comfort and hope. “What choice do we have but to hope? The alternative is death.”

It is hard to hope in a world filled with seemingly endless hatred and violence. But, what else can we do but hope?

I wish you a blessed and joy-filled Advent season, even in the midst of a world longing for something better.

–Quotations from Keep Watch With Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers, by Claire Brown and Michael T McRay.

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The angel Gabriel

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden, Mary,
most highly favoured lady,”

“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady,”

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“my soul shall laud and magnify His holy Name.”
Most highly favoured lady,

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
“Most highly favoured lady,”

–Words: Basque carol; para. Sabine Baring-Gould (19th century)
–Music: GABRIEL’S MESSAGE – Basque carol; harm. Edgar Pettman (20th century)

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Ave Maria

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum:
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

–Words: traditional Latin, based on the Gospel of St. Luke
–Music: Robert Parsons (1535-1572)

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A tender shoot

A tender shoot has started up from a root of grace,
as ancient seers imparted from Jesse’s holy race:
It blooms without a blight, blooms in the cold bleak winter,
turning our darkness into light.

This shoot Isaiah taught us, from Jesse’s root should spring;
The Virgin Mary brought us the branch of which we sing;
Our God of endless might gave her this child to save us,
Thus turning darkness into light.

–Composer: Otto Goldshmidt, 1829-1907 (composer and original German lyricist)
–English translation: William Bartholomew

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Isaiah 7:10-16

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”

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