Advent: Preparing to Become Beloved Community
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the
desert a highway for our God ... Then the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all people shall see it together. - Isaiah 40:3,5
Advent is a season of preparation. Advent is also a time to prepare our hearts and communities for the coming of Christ. There may be no better time to reflect on how we as the Episcopal Church embrace the Holy One who continues to draw near in the neighbor, the stranger, the refugee, or the one who seems most “other” to you. It is the ideal season to commit to becoming Beloved Community and growing loving, liberating, life-giving relationships across the human family of God.
We make the journey not only as individual Christians and congregations, but as a whole church.
For the four Sundays of Advent each lesson includes:
- Read together the Collect and Scripture for the day
- Reflection and questions
- In the Labyrinth: relating
- Scripture and reflection to the work of racial reconciliation
- Make It Real: small group activities
- Closing prayer
- Download for free and find other resources at: www.episcopalchurch.org/beloved-community
This spring, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings and their supporting officers shared “Becoming Beloved Community,” a new vision document that lays out the Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice.
A second resource — “Becoming Beloved Community Where You Are” — details many ways for individuals and congregations to take concrete steps toward change and healing. Both are available at www.episcopalchurch.org/
beloved-community, along with a host of resources for faithful reflection and action.
The journey is framed around the labyrinth. Why? In the ministry of racial healing and justice, none of us walks a straight line. We enter the labyrinth wherever God has provided an opening – telling the truth about our church’s story around race; discerning and proclaiming God’s dream of Beloved Community where we are; learning and practicing Jesus’ way of healing and love; and bravely working to transform systemic racial injustice.
We keep moving from one quadrant to another and back. No one is ever really finished. That is the way of ongoing spiritual formation.