By Conference Minister Diane Weible
This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to attend worship at my home church, First Church Berkeley. During the Advent Candle lighting, Rev. Kelly Colwell made a beautiful connection to this tender time and the theme of this second week in Advent, Peace, when she invited all of us to “Shelter in Peace.”
Shelter in Peace.
During this season of Advent, I have set up opportunities for spiritual connection throughout my home. I have two Advent Candle circles; two Advent Calendars; two Christmas countdown decorations; and two electronic devotionals. Each day, as I Shelter in Peace and move through my house, I find myself stopping at one of these places to read, watch, think or lift up a prayer. Every evening I plug in my lights and I find moments of peace after a long day.
Every time I do something connected to this year’s Advent journey, I am reminded of the meaning of my life and ministry in this time and how it connects to our collective lives. What is God calling me to notice at this time? Where do I hear God speaking to me? Am I listening?
Do I wish I could be with other people? Of course. Do I miss hugs and a touch on the hand? Definitely. Am I missing visits with my family? Absolutely.
And, I can’t argue with reality. I cannot do all those things if I want to remain safe and protect the people I care about at the same time. I may not like reality but it is the way things have to be right now. Despite all the challenges “reality” has brought, it has also brought some opportunities. I have clarified my mission and ministry; I can see things in ways I had not seen them before; I have discovered the importance of self-care in new and meaningful ways.
The phrase, “Shelter in Peace,” was a gift to me. It reminds me that in my current reality, I have created a way through prayers and moments of connection with God to connect with others in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. It has offered me the opportunity to examine my life in profound ways. It has invited me into a deeper meaning for this Advent journey that speaks to me and offers me something I may have missed if I was experiencing Advent the way I have other years.
Sometimes reality, although it may not be what we would want or what we would choose, offers us a gift that we can treasure in new and important ways. For that clarity, I am grateful.
I hold you all in prayer as you Shelter in Peace this week.