With Advent just over a week away now, Advent resources are beginning to appear online, including Christine Sine’s New Advent Meditation and planned synchroblogs. I organized a synchroblog last year for Advent, and have collected all the post links for reference as well. I’ve also begun to reread some of my past posts for the season, like Bethlehem and Mixing metaphors, and Kicking your way to the Light. There are also collections of Advent resources appearing online as well.
Last year I wrote a piece for Next-Wave on the theme of Advent. We talked a lot about Advent themes last year as I completed my book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John. I’m not sure yet if there are any synchroblogs planned for Advent this year, but I thought I would start taking up the topic a little eary so it doesn’t catch me off-guard like it so often does. Usually the season sneaks up on me before I know it, but this year I’m trying to think ahead. Unless you’re celebrating by the Celtic calendar, of course. In this vein, I thought I’d reprint last year’s Next-Wave article.
For the record, there are twelve days to the Christmastide season… let the feasting continue! We should know this from the famous Christmas carol, yet these days most of us may just scratch our heads as to what, when, and why the twelve days are. It turns out that the 12 days song actually has some relation to a variety of theological themes. Coming to the point thought, we’ve moved out of the Advent season and into the Christmas season. In my Advent book, I have included an extra set of daily offices for use during the Christmas season… kind of a bonus for those who made the purchase. Although the Advent synchroblog has ended, the daily office and the celebration of Christmas go on. The extra office is designed to keep the Christmas themes present in our minds throughout the season. In the book, I introduced it this way:
‘Tis true, on both counts. This is post #1500! I’m 7 days shy of my 3rd blogiversary, and after all the words I’ve spilled, I’ve finally put some in a book of my own. Actually, the book has a lot of other people’s words… saints, scriptures, Celtic traditional prayers, songs, psalms, creeds, quotes lifted out of Pascal’s Pensees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, traditional Jewish prayers… it’s all in there! Are you thankful yet?
It’s difficult to describe to a non-writer exactly why we write. Somerset Maugham said, “We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.” This makes a lot of sense to me. In my inaugural post here, I said, “We write to know who we are.” Both, I believe, are true. I really never had any idea how deeply I felt the compulsion to write until I started giving in to it, slowly at first. Often I find it easier to write than to read. I mean, I love to read and most people would still consider me an avid reader… I just don’t read that quickly. I’m simply astounded that Julie Clawson could read all of Agatha Christie’s works in just three weeks! (Ah, but Julie, have you read Star Over Bethlehem?) I wish I could read like that. But to write, that’s different. Sometimes — as now — we write in hopes of catharsis. And sometimes — as now — we write in hopes of finding understanding of ourselves and our experiences.
Might as well make it official — my first book, That You Might Believe: Praying Advent with the Gospel of John will be out this week. I’ve a hurdle or two left, such as finishing the cover design and getting fonts to display nicely, but those should be done soon and we’ll be off to the races. I will publish at Lulu.com and will also offer it as a PDF download once I work out the functional details of doing the download after the payment processing with PayPal. I will work on getting a small batch into my own hands if anyone wishes to buy direct… pricing TBA once the Lulu details are sorted out.
I’ve been writing a fair bit on themes around a missional order since Seabeck. Anyone new to this blog might think I write on little else, but this is simply a current theme… we’ll be onto other matters soon enough, though this one is quite unlikely to be left behind entirely. I
talked a little bit about the daily office and its relation to liturgy already, but the whole subject of the daily office is one that I’ve been encouraged to write about a little more.
For those who are less familiar with the whole subject, there’s a fairly long-ish Wikipedia entry for Canonical Hours, and quoting from its introduction:
Andrew Jones has announced a new blog season for himself, following the Celtic and church calendars. The Lectionary calendar starts “Year A” on December 2nd with the Advent season, and I’m considering options as I seek to add some new spiritual habits (disciplines) into the pattern of my own life, and wondering how I might weave some of them into the blog happenings here. I’m thinking about:
- Dwelling in Luke 10;
- The “Shalom Lectionary” in an appendix to Walter Brueggemann’s Living Toward a Vision: Biblical Reflections on Shalom;
- The Revised Common Lectionary;
- The Daily Office;
One of the subjects that came up at the Seabeck Missional Order Gathering on Tuesday (I think) was the question of language. In the formation of an order and the conversation around St. Benedict’s rule, some question was made about the language we use and how we express it. Before I left for the gathering, the question had been put to me by more than one person. After all, words like “rule” and “order” sound a little to the rigid or legalistic side. In the charismatic tradition, the verse that speaks of “a God of order, not disorder” is met with the challenge of what order might look like to God, and the fact that it might look very disorderly to us. In context, the conversation was essentially what we hope to achieve in the formation of an order… whether it’s done in an elitist exclusionary way, a legalistic fashion, or what. What does such an order or rule do for us, anyway?