Reflections on love and connection

We lit the love candle tonight at Collective, the fourth in the series of advent. I love the practice of lighting advent candles in our faith community and in our home. It is an intentional way of slowing down the season and invites us into a reflective posture to contemplate and rediscover the longing and fulfillment of the Christmas story and what it means for us today. The stories around the birth begin the illustration of the unusual, countercultural, boundary breaking way of life that Jesus would lead and invite us into. It fits with the tone of the prophets throughout the Old Testament who were always ‘swimming upstream’ culturally. Choosing to follow the way of Jesus in our place and time puts us in line with this tradition of the unusual and countercultural. At least we are invited into that – I think it is just as astounding today as it was then to take the posture of Mary and say, ‘Let it be as you have said’, and let the Spirit have it’s way with us. One aspect that makes the Jesus way so countercultural is that it is concerned with the inner life of a person without regard for the outer circumstances. It seems to me that it is a rare thing in our society to find people who have the time or inclination to really see and care about a person’s heart without their external appearance or situation getting in the way. This is a huge challenge for me.

As we are making connections with family and friends this holiday, slow down enough to listen to a person’s heart, particularly if they are someone who you find it hard to be around. What would happen in our more challenging relationships if we could cut through the external habits and mannerisms that put us off or frustrate us and pay attention to what is happening inside? What if we let the Spirit have it’s way with us?

Love yourself, love others, love God.

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2 responses to “Reflections on love and connection

  1. Thanks for this posting Laura.
    I was amazed last night at Quest when Troy talked about the different Jesuses because I had just listened to Brian McLaren that afternoon in the car talk about the many Jesuses he had worshipped during his life. (The book was Generous Orthodoxy) Synchronicity!

    A couple of weeks ago when Bob lead Troy and I in a meditation on a Wednesday morning I had an amazing experience in which the stories of Jesus flashed before me, all with the same theme. The boundary breaking Jesus. As he reached out and touched the leper, unclean women, prostitutes, the poor, the drunk, the children and the tax collectors. He pushed against the religiously upright and the politically strong and he was always doing the unexpected (like retreating to the wilderness, disappearing from what he was supposed to be doing and sending his mother and brothers away pretending not to know them). The boundary breaking Jesus. Synchronicity!

    Since then, contrary to what to Troy talked about last night (seeing in Jesus the likeness of ourselves) I have become increasingly uncomfortable with Jesus. I see the disparity between he and I and I wonder if I have it in me to close the gap. I’m really not sure.

    One thing that comforts me is this. I don’t think Jesus was boundary breaking just to make people feel uncomfortable and to be irritable to the powerful. He was motivated by a deep love for the outcast, the set-aside, the rejected and those lacking in honour and importance.

    Synchronicity in the faith community that you walk in is not to be ignored. The thread that weaves us all together is the Spirit, I’m pretty sure. If there is a message to be heard I’m pretty sure there’ll be a number of people hearing it. Of course there may be several threads and we all may be hearing different ones. But I’m sufficiently rattled by having two whispers in my ear confirmed by others and I’m going to make sure that over the Christmas holidays I make time to meditate on the deep love of Jesus for humanity and I’m going to hope that it motivates me to acts of love and kindness and boundary breaking myself. Gulp! Yep, I find that scary.

  2. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. I agree, the boundary breaking Jesus did was not about trying to make a point, but it was and continues to be an awe inspiring way to look at people and to live a life. I also feel a huge gap and wonder what that really looks like for me and for our community. I trust that we are being led.

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