Sister Doreen’s Reflections
Come! Wait with me! Hope for our world is coming! God calls us out of darkness to walk in the light.
Over the next four weeks of Advent, I thought I would share some reflections on the Candles we use at the Convent for the lighting of the Advent wreath. Each week during our Evening prayer service on Saturday evensong is getting ready for Sunday, as we light a new candle. Our candles are named for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. May they be helpful Advent reflections for us all.
The first candle symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
This candle reminds us of the prophets, who believed in God during dark days, and looked forward to the coming of Christ. Perhaps for all of us this is where we are today, believing in God during the dark days of our world and our times. The prophets were role models for a spirituality of hope that can fill us with the power to believe in life, to cope with life, to live life, whatever the burdens that come with the daily dying’s of life. They give us new opportunities to adopt new ways of thinking and behaving by inspiring us by their view that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for”. They seem to say to me “I look for the many ways the good I seek is already mine”.
Joan Chittister in her book “Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope” wrote: “A Native American tale tells of the elder who was talking to a disciple about tragedy. The elder said, ‘I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.’ The disciple asked, ‘But which wolf will win the fight in your heart?’ and the holy one answered, ‘It depends on which one I feed.’ The spiritual task of life is to feed the hope that comes out of despair. Hope is not something to be found outside of us. It lies in the spiritual life we cultivate within. The whole purpose of wrestling with God is to be transformed into the self we were meant to become, to step out of the confines of our false securities and allow our creating God to go on creating. In us.”
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them.” (Isaiah 9:2)
We light this candle for all God’s prophets, confronting justice and restoring the dream of a world of freedom and peace. We light this candle for all God’s messengers preparing the way for change, signs pointing to a new age to come, who take life on its own terms, knowing that whatever happens God lives in it. This is the hope that can send us dancing around the dark corners trusting in a tomorrow that we cannot see because of all the new understandings experienced on our paths of life which we cannot forget. Joan Chittister, again said, “Hope is the recall of good in the past, on which we base our expectation of good in the future, however bad the present. It digs in the rubble of the heart for memory of God’s promise to bring good out of evil and joy out of sadness and, on the basis of those memories of the past, takes new hope for the future.”
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
In you have I trusted (hoped) all the day long.
Remember, O God, your compassion and love for they are from everlasting.
We wait in HOPE. This is the light of hope for the world. In waiting we are called to contemplation and action. We are called to be the hope of Christ in the world, and pray for all God’s people, struggling to be bearers of hope in a troubled world. Compassionate and love God, may your hope live within us, burning as a light in our lives.
Questions for us to ponder:
What are your hopes – for yourself, for your community, for your country and for the world?
Lord Christ, the prophets spoke of your coming as a child to be born to a young woman.
In the pain and joy of children, in the work and fellowship of homes,
Your Kingdom Come.
Lord Christ, the prophets spoke of your coming to bring justice, compassion and freedom.
In all just actions, compassionate acceptance and desire for truth.
Your Kingdom Come.
Lord Christ, the prophets looked for a renewed earth, where desolation would be replaced by abundance.
In all active longing to live in your world with love and gentleness,
Your Kingdom Come.
Christ of the past and future, stay with us now and give us the courage to search for your Kingdom. Amen
Hymn 131 from “Sing A New Creation”:
Live into hope of captives freed, of sight regained, the end of greed.
The poor shall be the first to see the year of God’s own jubilee!
Live into hope! The blind shall see with insight and with clarity,
Removing shades of pride and hear, a vision of our God brought near.
Live into hope of liberty, the right to speak, the right to be,
The right to have one’s daily bread, to hear God’s word and thus be fed.
Live into hope of captives freed from chains of fear or want or greed.
God now proclaims our full release to faith and hope and joy and peace.
Advent calls us to hope in the promise that God is calling us to greater things and will be with us as we live them.