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Advent Meditation – Sunday, December 3By Jane Patterson
The apocalyptic visions we are given to read today are full of dramatic intensity, of terrifying sights and sounds. These visions are included in the scriptures not simply to inform us, but to express the moral urgency of heeding God’s commandments this very day. But many people around us are already anxious about wars, about global income disparity, about the degradation of the environment.
This widespread sense of urgency is actually stalling many out, rather than fueling their resolve. What is our role, as Christians, in discerning a path of strength and wisdom among these competing needs?
The Psalms of Thanksgiving that are also assigned for today may help to establish a more stable framework for discernment. In particular, Psalm 112:4-10 describes the steadiness, freedom, generosity, compassion, and mercy of those who are grounded in the life of God: “they will never be shaken.” This spiritual capacity of the people of God to stand firmly, to look steadily on the world with compassion, and to take time for discernment may be one of the greatest gifts we have to offer. The gracious space of Advent is a time given to us to meditate upon the slow process of God’s life taking on bodily form, showing us what wisdom looked like in Jesus, and what it looks like even here, even now.
God of wisdom, help us see you clearly enough in our time of prayer that we may recognize you among our occupations. Amen.
The Rev. Jane Lancaster Patterson, PhD
Associate Professor of New Testament and
Director of Community Care
SEMINARY OF THE SOUTHWEST
Listen to the Jane read her meditation and prayer:
Jane Patterson is Assistant Professor of New Testament and serves as Director of Community Care. She joined the full-time faculty in 2013 after teaching part-time and serving as Interim Director of Theological Field Education 2003-2005. She is the author of Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians and Philippians (SBL Press, 2015). In biblical studies her academic interests include the intersection of literary, political, and theological study of the scriptures. She also teaches in the area of Christian formation, where her work focuses on vocation and Christian practice. She serves as Co-Director of St.Benedict’s Workshop, a ministry devoted to helping laity live their faith in daily life, and serves the Diocese of West Texas as Missioner for Adult Formation and as a member of the diocesan Examining Chaplains. She is active as a preacher, teacher, and parishioner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio.
Advent Meditations is a gift to our seminary community and made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the Body of Christ.
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