Active Waiting, part 1

Throughout Advent, our congregation is studying the concept of Active Waiting. Specifically, we’re consciously attempting to practice Lee Raffel’s Active Waiting Guidelines found here: I’m going to use Intersect to work through my own processes, an online spiritual diary of sorts. I’m also going to attempt to write with as little editing as possible. Therefore, my thoughts may seem scattered. I suspect most of us think this way as we begin to formulate an opinion or belief. That is the unfiltered process at work, and that is the essence of Raffel’s first guideline about process.

I’ve been meditating on Raffel’s suggestion to “Hold to your vision and accept that your life is in process.”  I love the idea of process, but I’m impatient. This whole waiting until Christmas thing to give and receive gifts is killing me. But it’s not that I’m just waiting for the Christmas party. We spend so much time building up to this one day and, for better or worse, it’s become largely about gifts. I just wonder why we don’t give gifts all year round? What does it say about humans that we have to designate a particular day to be decent to each other?

I understand that the holiday Advent is leading to (Christmas) is supposed to be a birthday party for Jesus, but really? Is that where we’re at spiritually? Exchanging gifts to celebrate the birth of one of the most extraordinary beings ever born? I’m a pastor, and this season’s noise and divisiveness even have me doubting… well, everything. Is there a point to all this? Does there need to be? Sometimes I feel as though I have lost sight of my vision—or perhaps I am finally too numbed by the inanity of the media that I’ve been beaten down into, if not the submissive puppet they desire, at least one too exhausted to fight back anymore.

And then I think, “Hold to your vision and accept that your life is in process.”

Advent is a powerful time to remember that we are in process. We await the arrival not of the cute little baby Jesus, but of the new consciousness he represents—a new way of perceiving and reacting to “reality.” Jesus’ birth heralds the arrival of what we’ve come to call “Christ Consciousness,” and it is all about the process of becoming—of preparing every day for a greater sense of awareness.

We are not beings of instant gratification. Even though I have trouble resisting shiny new things, I understand that my vision—my life—is in process. Life is a long process of becoming. We’re not on a slow march to death, and there is no sin in dying. In fact, by the end of life, we have achieved our vision. Coming to that realization has required me to realize it’s not my vision I want to achieve. It’s God’s.

And while we wrestle with what it means for God to have a vision, part of my process has been to consider that by simply existing we are achieving God’s vision. The good, the bad, the ugly of life—it’s all part of the ultimate process. God’s process. What if the purpose of life is to merely live and celebrate living? We Christians take this one day on December 25th—this one birthday and use it to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Then we spend the rest of the church year (we call this the liturgical year in the biz), celebrating HIS life through Easter.

I’m wondering if perhaps the best way to celebrate the life of this incredible, inspired, fully God-conscious being we call the Christ is to simply live our lives and accept we’re in process. Stop worrying about what it all means, because all of it has meaning. Whether we live one day or one thousand, every minute of life is meaningful because it is the birth of God in the world.

We are all the children of God because we are born from the very being of God. And while we might never achieve the conscious awareness of this union as did Jesus, I think understanding life matters helps us hold on to our vision, no matter what it is.

I will hold to my vision that God is in the process, somehow, in some way I cannot comprehend. And I will hold to my vision that God is not a manipulator, not even a partner, but rather loving creator. And as we begin to realize our intimate connection with this loving creator, that’s when God’s vision and ours becomes one. And that’s when we have the strength to hold on to our vision of love, peace, unity, and hope.

And I suppose being able to hold onto those dreams in a world that appears increasingly dark is the purpose of faith.

Meditation: Hold to your vision and accept that your life is in process.

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