Lincoln Advent: 16 December

Advent Prayers, 16 December
Furnichurch, Skegness

God’s home is now among his people.
He will live with them, and they will be his people.
God himself will be with them.
(Revelation 21.3, New Living Translation)

How does it feel to be the dwelling place of God?

Our whole Christian story is based on the belief that God not only dwells among us, but comes to share our human nature. All that we are is taken up into the life of God in Christ. But that is only half the story. When God comes to Mary, Mary’s ‘yes’ makes her the God-bearer. When Jesus is born in the stable, human life reveals the presence of God. When we are given new life in the Spirit, God becomes our very breath. We become God-bearers; our lives become a revelation of God.

These things are ‘given’ to us in faith. But this is Advent, and we know that we live in the space between ‘already’ and ‘not-yet’. ‘Already’ is the fact that God shares our life and wants our lives to proclaim his presence. ‘Not-yet’ is our ability to embody that fully – to know, truly and deeply, that we are the dwelling place of God.

Most of us carry voices in our heads that tell us we are not good enough. We can’t sing. We can’t dance. We are (cruelty of cruelties:) ‘no good with people’. Even if there are many things we know we are good at, there is usually some undermining fear: maybe this time we will be caught out. If we are not even sure that we are ‘good enough’ for the normal tasks of living, then how can we be the dwelling place of God?

To make a dwelling place is to make a home – to make a place where others are welcome. I read once (I cannot think where) that in order to offer hospitality, we must first feel at home ourselves. We have to have a certain ease with our place in the world, so that we can help others find ease and well-being. Part of the task of the church is to be a place where we can learn to feel at home – where we can experience enough of God’s love to let go of our fear of failure, and to trust that we might be (may be) the very dwelling place of God.

Jean Vanier says this:

To love someone is not, first of all, to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: “You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.” … To love someone is to reveal to them their capacity for life, the light that is shining in them.”

(J. Vanier, From Brokenness to Community, p. 16)

We learn to trust ourselves as we give and receive trust from other. We come to feel at home, as God’s dwelling place, when we respond to the presence of God, dwelling in others.

Today we pray for Furnichurch, which helps those who would otherwise struggle to furnish their homes. Pray that through their efforts, more people will be able to feel at home, make spaces of hospitality, and come to see that they are the very dwelling place of God.

the original post is here.

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