2021 12 05 Alan Storey
“Do not let me be put to shame …”
Today is Advent. Advent is the start of the Christian calendar. The Christian calendar invites us to do time differently. Instead of seasons or seconds determining our time, Advent calls us to re-set our lives to the clock of Jesus’ character of justice, mercy and humility. Advent is the grace-full invitation to start over. To begin again, to prepare for Jesus’ coming. Jesus’ coming is the coming of love and truth in the flesh.
Advent asks each of us: How do we prepare for the coming of love and truth in our lives and world?
Here is a prayer and poem to help us wrestle with this Advent question…
“We carry old secrets too painful to utter,
too shameful to acknowledge,
too burdensome to bear,
of failures we cannot undo,
of alienations we regret but cannot fix,
of grandiose exhibits we cannot curb.
And you know them.
You know them all.
And so we take a deep sigh in your presence,
no longer needing to pretend and
cover up and
We mostly do not have big sins to confess,
only modest shames that do not
fit our hoped-for selves.
And then we find that your knowing is more
powerful than our secrets.
You know and do not turn away,
and our secrets that seemed too powerful
are emptied of strength,
secrets that seemed too burdensome
are now less severe.
We marvel that when you find us out
you stay with us,
taking us seriously,
taking our secrets soberly,
but not ultimately,
overpowering our little failure
with your massive love
and abiding patience.
We long to be fully, honestly
exposed to your gaze of gentleness.
In the moment of your knowing
we are eased and lightened,
and we feel the surge of joy move in our bodies,
because we are not ours in cringing
but yours in communion.
We are yours and find the truth before you
makes us free for
wonder, love, and praise—and new life.”
– Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People
“Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind? Model your life
after theirs. Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror
you think you’ve messed up. Forgive
yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.
Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs. Spin
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow
of it all to pulse
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
to be different.”
– Julia Fehrenbacher
Click here for a list of the VOOMA Vaccination Sites for this weekend.
On Thursday 28th October at 2pm, we will raise this Yellow Banner on the steeple of the Central Methodist Mission – Greenmarket Square.
Every single major religion encourages people to get vaccinated. Vaccination is safe and effective. It has been proven over and over that vaccination reduces infection, hospitalisation, and death. Vaccines are therefore to be celebrated as a gift from God that saves lives. Indeed, vaccination is one the greatest public health achievements in history.
Yet sadly there are some individuals who assert that vaccination is at odds with their religious faith. They promote the false binary of: Faith in God OR faith in vaccines. They use their religious authority to mislead people to place their faith in “God’s providence” rather than medical best practice. Some Christian pastors have promoted Holy Communion as “COVID medicine”. Others have stated that “Jesus is my vaccine” securing immunity from COVID. Others have said because of the “blood of the Jesus” COVID will “Passover” without touching me or my family.
This religious pressure can tip a person over from vaccine hesitancy to anti-vaccination.
These false binaries may end up having deadly consequences because COVID cares less for one’s religion. COVID does not discriminate according to one’s belief.
Since it is difficult to combat this belief without being perceived as attacking someone’s religion, it is important that religious institutions themselves do so.
It is “Prayer and Vaccines”. Not, “Prayer or Vaccines”. Refusing to take life-saving vaccines is a sign of foolishness, not a sign of faithfulness.
Should you choose to cover this event please be mindful of COVID regulations.
If you would like further information on the Yellow Banners of Central Methodist Mission you can find it here: https://www.cmm.org.za/yellow-banner-theology/