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An Invitation to Keep Awake to the Work of Reconciliation and Healing

I have been learning about my role within the work of racial reconciliation, my responsibility to be curious about systems that were built to serve my white skin. I continue to come back, again and again, to the ways that this work of healing is disciplined and practiced in nature. It requires me to wade in to work that I don’t always feel ready to do.  It compels me to ask God to be present with me in this curiosity and truth-telling, as there is no way that I can approach this on my own.

For the last seven years, Virginia Theological Seminary has created an Advent Word reflection: a single word that participants are invited to reflect on each day in the season of Advent. I have always loved this practice as it allows me to ‘keep awake’ and dwell within the realm of one word and all the possible reflection and depth it has to share. 

Advent is a time of waiting for the world to change in ways that are mysterious and life-altering–  a time of preparation for the world-wide change that will come in the form of a child but will be lived out through each of us. This year, I desire for these words to move me to hear voices and stories I did not know. I long for an Advent practice that would continue to solidify in me the work of racial reconciliation and healing as a spiritual practice, which moves through seasons bringing learning, grief, joy, singing, liberation, meditation, stillness, pain, wondering, rest and more. 

Here, I offer a variation on the Advent Word curriculum. For each day, I have linked a resource that speaks to me of something of God in the word selected. I’ve selected items based on word association, feast days, what I was searching to explore within the given word. There are interviews, articles, blog posts, music, artwork, and poetry, all inviting you to reflect on where God may be calling you to respond to the injustices in our world. Some resources are brief, some are longer, but, as you are able, I invite you to dwell with these voices and these stories as you prepare for the way God is calling you to be changed for something greater.

Tender, November 29

Deliver, November 30

Strengthen, December 1

Earth, December 2

Rebuild, December 3

Fellowship, December 4

Glory, December 5

Speak, December 6

Comfort, December 7

Patient, December 8

Mercy, December 9

Baptize, December 10

Word, December 11

Honey, December 12

Go, December 13

Rest, December 14

Worship, December 15

Pray, December 16

Learn, December 17

Bless, December 18

Turn, December 19

Rejoice,  December 20

Mystery, December 21

Wisdom, December 22

Holy, December 23

Proclaim, December 24

This fall, the Sowing Holy Questions blog will focus on issues of racial healing. Writers will reflect on what has been done, what change ought to happen, and offer visions for healing in our communities. 

Sarah Diener-Schlitt is a middler MDiv from the Diocese of North Carolina. She lives in Austin sharing a small and cozy space with her husband and three dogs. She is a singer, very-slow ukulele player, oak-tree-gazer and poetry lover– all of which reveal to her the creative and relational ways God is present with us in creation.

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