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3 December 2023

By Carolyn Brock of Redmond, Oregon, USA

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

Mark 13:32–33 NRSV

First Sunday of Advent

Seven years ago, my youngest brother Phil died unexpectedly. It was shocking and overwhelmingly sad that my good-looking, in-shape, gentle-hearted “little brother” was dead at age 54. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I longed for it not to be so. I took long walks, talking and crying out my grief. I talked to God and to Phil, pondering the brutal permanence of death alongside moments of palpable connection with my brother’s energetically conscious existence.

I wondered, too, about the nature of love. What in my broken heart revealed the reality of loving another person? Had I truly seen my brother clearly enough to authentically love him while he was here on the planet? How does the absence of a person’s physical form awaken us to their precious fragility, their never-to-be-repeated sacredness? There were no answers, but a dimly perceived awareness of the word “yearning” slowly emerged. The ache in my soul had something to do with yearning. It felt absolutely true to say, “to yearn is to love.” Inevitably, I was brought to wonder about my longing for God and whether or not God’s love is ultimately grounded in yearning.

German mystic and theologian, Meister Eckhart (1260–1328) says the ground of God was absolutely still and empty before God’s radical act of giving birth to creation. From this state of “gelassenheit” (releasement or detachment), there is a boiling over (ebullitio) of uncontainable, extravagant abundance! God, full to overflowing with existence itself, gives birth to the myriad forms and faces of creation. Out of divine stillness and emptiness, God loves and yearns the cosmos into being.

I still yearn for my brother. Yearning opens me to the vast interior of God where all our wounds and longings are held. It opens my soul to the Christ child, who is always coming again with God’s stream of healing love flowing right through and out of his heart. I am made empty and still, waiting for the abundant overflow of the Jesus-birthing God River to boil up and over in me! I long for it to be so!

Prayer Phrase

“And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Spiritual Practice

Praying for Peace

Praying for peace is a daily Community of Christ spiritual practice. This Advent season we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the prayer for peace. Bring a candle to your prayer space. Greet God, light the candle, and sit quietly, looking at this symbol of God’s light and Christ’s peace. Slowly read the Prayer for Peace in today’s Daily Bread, silently or aloud. Sit in silence again. What images and desires for peace come to your heart and mind? Speak or write your own prayer for peace. Close your prayer and blow out your candle.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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