For the first nine days of Advent I have really enjoyed combining praying in color with #AdventWord. Everyday #AdventWord (adventword.org) sends an email with a new word and a reflection on the word. The chosen words are based on the Advent lectionary from year C. Most of them are familiar, returning Advent companions. But Sunday’s word jarred me and my thoughts went wild. The word was WILD. Instead of just drawing, I started writing:
Jesus tames the wild, but Jesus also wilds the tame. For people like me who seek the safe, easy, and comfortable way, he discomforts. I choose the path of the good-girl Christian. She’s the one who follows the rules, wants to be perfect, memorizes the Beatitudes and Ten Commandments, respects authority, doesn’t make waves, tries to please, goes to church every Sunday, smiles…. I don’t think Jesus objects to any of those things; they are good things– except if they get in the way of following Him. For me, it’s easier to follow rules. It’s hard to follow the Jesus who calls for wild, sometimes risky discipleship.
“I am the Way,” says Jesus. Possibly, the wild way, the unpredictable way. Jesus steers me off the 8-lane highway of comfort and conformity, asks me to unbuckle my seat belt, and takes me onto the narrow path through a forest of thickets, roots, and brambles. The only navigation tool is Jesus Himself. My mother warned me about men who said, “Follow me.” “You are my friend
s if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14 NRSV). (But this is Jesus, mom, okay?)
He is the Way. Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness; You will see rare beasts and have unique adventures. These are the stunning words of the poet W.H. Auden. This wild Jesus who calls me beyond my familiar boundaries is the one I want to follow–but I am so afraid to do so.
Monday’s word was CRY.
I almost never cry. Not at funerals, not at weddings. Except recently, at the drop of a hat, at the movies, at pictures of my granddaughter, at funerals…. I have wondered: “Why all the crying? Did I have a stroke? Or is my heart actually softening?” In one of those strong, rare, inaudible voices I heard: “Doesn’t matter. Trust the tears.”
Leslie Lepage is also combining #AdventWord with a calendar template. Here are her visual prayers/meditations on the words.