“Christmas, already?!!” Do you hear the impatience, the lack of wonder in the season, the when-will-it-be-over attitude? It’s why I need this blessing for all that is chaotic in my life. With this week, we start Advent. It’s a time to lead us gently into Christmas. To enter into my desired place of appreciating the birth of Jesus the Christ, I need a calming before the storm. And more, I need to cultivate spaciousness that allows God to open my heart in and through this season.
Selah begins the season with a Quiet Day today. It’s an opportunity to listen to the wonder and pregnant moments that this season can bring. In the quietness, we slow down long enough to “see what shimmers within the storm.” Join us if you can. Our Quiet Day for Listening into Advent begins at 9:30am. If you registered, check your email from Erika Mariani for the zoom link and materials to facilitate the day.
May this Advent, a time of waiting, be filled with sweet surprises that breathe new life into you. As fresh expressions of this season awaken in you, remember the birth of a human baby that reminds us of God’s tender and abiding love. Holy Advent, Merry Christmas.
https://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/f61fb6db-e068-4371-a88f-8a15f5fcca81.jpeg15372305Mary Pandianihttps://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/SELAH_FINAL.pngMary Pandiani2022-11-28 04:00:002022-11-28 05:56:17Advent Day 2
Today we light the first candle in the Advent wreath.
What is a Lectionary?
By DEBORA BUERK Editor, Here & Now & Selah Companion
Sharing in the same scripture through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we knit our community in ways that unite us through God’s word
Sharing in the same scripture through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we knit our community in ways that unify us through God’s word. For each of these scriptures provided, we are reading scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary that will be followed not only by those who participate in this blog but also by those all around the world who also use the Revised Common Lectionary. We are not alone as we connect with God through God’s words and with others who are being shaped by these words.
For some, the lectionary may be a new resource for use with scripture. Following the church calendar that begins with Advent and ends with Epiphany, we provide a scripture each week, starting with Thanksgiving, that opens us to explore the ways God can shape us through “His words.”
You can participate in these scriptures in a variety of ways throughout the Advent season:
You can focus on Lectio Divina, a sacred reading whereby the scripture reads you as you hold words in a contemplative posture.
You can use artistic expression through drawing, music, dance, or writing that responds to the words below.
You can journal through the scriptures by using an Examen of gratitude for what these words say to you.
You can engage with the reflections—the observations and responses to the given passages—as a source of encouragement, challenge, and/or comfort.
History of the Lectionary
About the Revised Common Lectionary—A lectionary is a table of readings from Scripture appointed to be read at public worship. The Lectionary (1969, revised 1981) developed by the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II provided for a three-year cycle of Sunday readings. This Roman lectionary provided the basis for the lectionary in the 1979 edition of The Book of Common Prayer, as well as for lectionaries developed by many other denominations.
The Common Lectionary, published in 1983, was an ecumenical project of several American and Canadian denominations, developed out of a concern for the unity of the church and a desire for a common experience of Scripture. It was intended to harmonize the many different denominational approaches to the three-year lectionary.
The Revised Common Lectionary, published in 1992 and officially adopted by The Episcopal Church in 2006, considered constructive criticism of the Common Lectionary based on evaluating its trial use. As the current prayer book lectionary, it is a three-year cycle of Sunday Eucharistic readings in which Matthew, Mark, and Luke are read in successive years, with some material from John read each year. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/about-revised-common-lectionary/
The Lectio Divina practice usually follows this process: read through the scripture to familiarize yourself with the passage; read a second time to listen for a word or phrase that surfaces for you; read a third time to let the word or phrase speak to your current situation; close with a prayer to ask the Spirit to let the word or phrase from the scripture shape you. That’s how “letting scripture read you” changes our approach from only reading scripture. (paraphrased from Eugene Peterson)
The Examen practice starts with a time of reflection, noting what is life-giving in what you are reading, what is life-draining, and that for which you are grateful. Using this practice through the season allows you to see patterns that emerge in your discoveries
The value of intentionally approaching the season with a prayerful heart lays a foundation for encountering God in the mystery of the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ.
Rather than falling prey to the frenzied expectations of gift giving and holiday gatherings that lose the meaning of Christmas, take this day to sit before the Holy One in quietness and rest. Whether in centering prayer or journaling or any combination of spiritual practices, the time spent with God opens you up to enter into the season with a centered heart.
Starting with a community who agrees to accompany one another on this quiet day, you’ll be given some tools to use as you want. Then for four hours, you can stay on Zoom in the silent presence of others or rejoin us for the closing time. We will end our time together by sharing how we intend to move into the Advent season
https://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/annie-spratt-GU7x7X1N48c-unsplash-4-scaled.jpg25601708Selah Centerhttps://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/SELAH_FINAL.pngSelah Center2022-11-26 04:57:182023-02-10 15:18:15Not Only for Christmas
By Debora Buerk Editor, Here & Now Selah Companion
As a kid, I looked forward to receiving an Advent calendar from my parents each Christmas. It helped mark the days until Christmas, a very exciting time for me as a child. There are many Advent calendars, but they typically have “doors” for each day leading up to Christmas. Each day you open a door to reveal an image, a poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus), or a small gift, such as a toy or candy. Or, perhaps a Bible verse or Christian prayer, which can be incorporated as part of daily Advent devotions. But, as a kid, I was after the chocolate! It was nearly as torturous to wait until the next day to open another door for chocolate as it was to wait for Christmas Day.
German Lutherans used the first Advent calendar in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their use has since spread to other Christian denominations.
Traditional Advent calendars feature the manger scene, Saint Nicholas, or a winter scene, while others range in theme from sports to technology. They come in many forms, from a simple paper calendar with flaps covering each day to fabric pockets on a background scene to painted wooden boxes with cubby holes for small items. The Advent calendars of my early childhood years were homemade. Later on, different types of calendars were commercially available.
Advent calendars aren’t necessarily two-dimensional. Some European villages create Advent calendars on buildings or even “living” Advent calendars, with different windows in a building decorated for each day of Advent.
So, I reached out to the writers from Selah’s Here & Now blog and the Selah Center books, asking them if they were up for the challenge of writing enough contemplative reflections for every day of Advent. The response was tremendous. Their writings started appearing in my inbox.
My grown-up Advent calendar has become a community calendar. Starting today, “Here & Now” will publish a special series of reflections for Advent and Christmas daily. Not only did I receive enough writings through Advent, but also for Christmas Eve to New Year’s. I considered it a gift from Selah to read these reflections, and I hope you will also receive them as gifts.
I hope you will look forward to opening a “new door” each day on the Here & Now blog and find a sweet treat to savor during Advent and Christmastide. I pray you’ll find my grown-up Advent calendar as delicious as the chocolate ones of my childhood. I can hardly wait until tomorrow…
I can smell the Christmas tree already.
A Moravian star is an illuminated decoration popular in Germany and places in Europe and America with Moravian congregations, notably the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and the area surrounding Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The first Moravian star dates back to the 1830s at the Moravian Boys’ School in Niesky, Germany, as a geometry lesson or project. That star had 110 points based on a rhombicuboctahedron. Today’s star features 26 points.
Listening into Advent
Join us for a Quiet Day to Prepare Our Hearts for the Season
Monday, November 28th, 2023
Rather than falling prey to the frenzied expectations of gift-giving and holiday gatherings that lose the meaning of Christmas, take this day to sit before the Holy One in quietness and rest. Whether in centering prayer or journaling, or any combination of spiritual practices, the time spent with God opens you up to enter into the season with a centered heart.
Are you longing to reconnect with the true spirit and spirituality of Christmas? Through reflections from the Revised Standard Lectionary Bible verses, creative writings, and light-filled, inspiring photography, Wondrous Light guides us through Advent, preparing our hearts to celebrate Christ’s birth deeply. The centerpieces of Wondrous Light are the personal reflections, poetry, and art contributed by Selah community members which encourage us to contemplate God’s purpose, impact, and action in our lives, during the holiday season and far beyond.
A special section highlights the ministry of National Geographic Traveler photographer and pastor Andrew E. Larsen, whose ministry promotes seeking truth and making peace between Christians and Muslims. Larsen’s extensive international travel inspires him to photograph beautiful landscapes and compelling portraits of the people he meets. Additionally, he’s produced two documentaries on peacemaking, and his photography calendar has been enormously popular over the past decade.
The book is sold on Amazon, and the proceeds help enable the Selah Center to offer workshops and retreats. If you haven’t purchased one yet, don’t miss out. It’s truly a sweet treat.
https://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/elena-mozhvilo-wBenc1bRgGI-unsplash-scaled.jpg17022560Debora Buerkhttps://selahcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/SELAH_FINAL.pngDebora Buerk2022-11-25 04:00:002023-02-10 15:23:15A Sweet Treat for You