Thursday, November 21, 2019

Introducing PEC's 2019 Advent Devotional

PEC's 2019 Advent Devotional

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.
Isaiah 44:23

I hate waiting. It seems like all we do these days is wait. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for people to call or text us back. Waiting in line at the grocery check-out. Waiting for our friends to get a clue and agree with us. And so we wait, in well-practiced squirmy, cranky and frustrated ways.

But is this the waiting of Advent?

This Advent we will be endeavoring to wait, not with a low-grade fever of irritation but with anticipation, like those who know their tickets to Disney have already been purchased, or the answers to their deepest need have been written and are about to be revealed. We will be waiting together in community, sharing strength with each other as we wait.

Ecologist, Susanne Simard, is a professor of forest ecology and teaches at the University of British Columbia. She is a biologist and has tested theories about how trees communicate with other trees. She explained in her TED Talk that the trees communicate below ground via an infinite number of pathways sharing information, water, nutrients, carbon, nitrogen, minerals and warnings. The young trees are supported by more mature mother trees. Trees talk to each other. That talk makes it easier for other trees to survive, to thrive in community. But what happens when trees are damaged or even clear cut? Then those left behind are weakened, left without the full capacity of the community to heal and to thrive. But trees allowed to stand with even a small part of their community intact tend to thrive.

Just like the trees, we are meant to live in community, sharing information and resources for the good of the community. We are planted in community and called to share resources, called to share the wisdom and grace of Christ as we grow together. When one tree falls another arises to carry on the legacy, to learn the wisdom and to share in the connectedness of the community of grace.

So this Advent we wait in community. We wait to soak up again the wisdom of the generations past, to tell again the stories of our faith in community. But we also wait with anticipation the renewal of those communities, the redemption of the land, the healing of scars and the emergence of the continuing work of our Savior in this time.  Perhaps the wait will end with renewed commitments to wholeness, to preservation, to stewardship and to the sense of peace that comes from believing in a God who can, has and will transform us again and again.

It is worth the wait!

Barbara Chalfant is currently the Associate for Mission for the Presbytery of West Virginia. She is a curriculum writer, artist, singer, and is prone to bouts of laughter. Having seen the direct effects of bad environmental stewardship as she works in disaster ravaged communities, Barbara has become proactive concerning environmental issues. She serves as the Central East Regional Representative on the Presbyterians for Earth Care Steering Committee. 

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