Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advent reflection

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” Luke 2:13-14

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent reflection

“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow:
Look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing!
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!”
Edmund H. Sears

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent reflection

“When all the people of the world love,
Then the strong will not overpower the weak.
The many will not oppress the few.
The wealthy will not mock the poor.
The honored will not disdain the humble.
The cunning will not deceive the simple.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome, Yule!

--Susan Cooper

Advent reflection

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent reflection

“And I saw the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.” Black Elk

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Advent reflection

“O come, desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”
Henry Sloane Coffin

Friday, December 18, 2009

Advent reflection

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent reflection

“They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent reflection

"From Sinai's cliffs it echoed; it breathed from Buddha's tree;
It charmed in Athens' market; it hallowed Galilee;
The hammer stroke of Luther, the Pilgrims' seaside prayer,
The oracles of Concord, one holy Word declare."
William Channing Gannett

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent reflection

“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent reflection

“I am the source of all, everything proceeds from me. I dwell in the heart, and dispel the darkness born of ignorance with the bright light of knowledge. I am the seed of all being; nothing can exist without me. Whatever is endowed with glory, brilliance, or power, know that it arises from but a fragment of my splendor.” Bhagavad Gita 10:8, 11, 39, 41

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent reflection

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” Black Elk

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Advent reflection

“The Logos is eternally valid, yet men cannot understand it -- not only before hearing it, but even afterward. All things come to pass in accord with this Logos, but men seem to be quite unaware of it.… Although intimately connected with the Logos, men keep setting themselves against it.… Listening not to me but to the Logos, it is wise to acknowledge that all things are one.” Heraclitus

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent reflection

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me', even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." Psalm 139:11-12

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent reflection

"If there is anywhere anything consolidated, it has been bound by the Logos of God, for this Logos is glue and a chain, filling all things with its essence." "The two natures are indivisible; the nature, I mean, of the reasoning power in us, and of the divine Logos above us." Philo of Alexandria

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Advent reflection

"The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it." John 1:5

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Advent reflection

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." Psalm 8:3-5

Monday, December 07, 2009

Advent reflection

"He who overwhelms with good the evil that he has done lights up the world, like the moon emerging from clouds." Dhammapada 173

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Advent reflection

"Falsehood implies the making of a wrong statement by one who is overwhelmed by intense passions." Upasakadasanga Sutra

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Advent reflection

“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” Isaiah 60:2,18

Friday, December 04, 2009

Advent reflections

This was the year I finally got myself onto facebook, primarily to keep in touch with my now-teenage kids. Once there, however, I found myself reconnecting with many long-lost friends, and the time spent renewing old friendships has come at the cost of time for blogging.

Anyway, over the past week, I have begun posting daily Advent reflections on my facebook page, and I thought I ought to cross-post them here.

In the Christian liturgical year, Advent is the season of deepest darkness in which the fallen world waits for God to renew the earth with the arrival of his presence, glory and redemption. It is a season of reflection, waiting and hope. Historically, of course, the actual date of Jesus' birth was not known, so the early Church fathers chose to celebrate it at the time of the winter solstice, when other religions celebrated a similar theme of new light emerging from darkness. In that perspective, I see the Advent tradition for UUs not as an idiosyncratic and historically inaccurate superstitious remnant of a repudiated religion, but rather, as the specific cultural idiom by which one culture, our culture, expresses a universal human hope for the breaking forth of more light upon the whole earth -- literally, spiritually, and figuratively. That being the case, I have tried to find complementary thematic selections from a broad selection of cultural sources.

Here are the ones I have posted so far:

Monday: "Hatred was never extinguished by hatred. Only love can extinguish hatred; this is an eternal truth." Dhammapada 1:5

Tuesday: "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Hadith 13 of al-Nawawi

Wednesday: "Thus the master lifts up everyone and abandons no one. He is ready to use any situation and wastes nothing. This is called embodying the light." Tao Te Ching 27

"For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main."
Arthur Hugh Clough

Today: "There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men." Black Elk