It was good to be back with you in community Sunday night and lean into the first week of Advent. Our night began with a brief update and prayer. This has been a challenging season for the community of Willow Creek as some hard decisions have been made about the 2019 budget. While we received the good news that The Practice will be funded without any cuts for 2019, many received the painful news that their jobs have been eliminated. We began our evening holding them in the loving presence of God. As you head into this season, would you continue to hold our community in prayer?
In our liturgy and teaching, we reflected on the invitation of Advent to wait in hopeful expectation for the coming of Christ. In the waiting we learn to slow down, to live with intention. Benedictine sister Joan Chittister says in Advent “we wait for what is beyond the obvious… to see what is behind the apparent. Advent makes us look for God in all those places we have, until now, ignored.”
The gift of Advent is that God is Immanuel. No matter how we experience the longing for God’s presence in this season, the Lord truly is “God with us.” We expressed our desire in the spiritual practice of breath prayer. Together we prayed the prayer, “Immanuel, I wait for you.”
During the season Advent this year, will you join us in the practice of this breath prayer “Immanuel, I wait for you?” Will you set aside five to ten minutes each day to pray this breath prayer slowly and reflectively? As we pray, let’s focus our attention on God’s loving presence. Then as we go about our day, we’ll repeat the prayer a handful of times as it comes to mind. When we become aware of our longings for God’s presence, let’s pray, “Immanuel, I wait for you,” as a way of grounding ourselves in God’s presence during this holy season.