BY THE REV. CORY L. KEMP |
Curiosity and presence.
My coaching mentor talked a good bit about these today. As companionate tools for supporting people in their journeys and work, curiosity and presence create space to discover, learn and grow. She encouraged those of us on the call to apply them in our own lives too.
It feels like the perfect way for me to talk about living our faith as we welcome the great Mystery of God with Us again this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent, a time of preparation, is about making space, figuring out what God coming to live with us means at this time and place in each of our lives. There are familiar traditions and practices that create a rich, lovingly crafted cadence that echoes through our ancestors, through generations, and now, through us.
As Moravians we sing the Hosannas each year, declaring the blessedness of He who comes in God’s name; and we hang stars in our sanctuaries to remind us of the journey on which we have embarked, and that in that journey we are not alone because we have chosen to follow the One who has called us. We sing seasonal songs, pray liturgies designed to help us consider Who God is, how God is among human beings, among us.
And yet, each year’s familiarity also brings a newness of life that requires our attention to make it known to us. While you and I each know a little bit about God, we don’t know everything. Advent is a season, a story, ripe with twists and turns, adventure and longing for life filled with peace, joy and hope.
A favorite quote of mine, from author Roald Dahl, speaks such poignant truth for these days ahead of us: “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you for the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in the magic will never find it.”
Seeing the world with glittering eyes, especially as we prepare to welcome God with Us, opens us up to just how much God is already with us. We become more present in each moment, mindful of what each moment holds for us.
Yesterday, as I stepped out to take care of a few errands, I stopped in my tracks to witness a snowstorm I didn’t know had been happening all around me for at least an hour. How could I have missed that? I decided then and there to slow down a little bit, enjoy the beauty of these orchestrated, individually crafted flakes moving together, some falling on me, some landing on the ground, the trees and buildings around me. Without curiosity, without seeing God with Us, God with me, I may have considered it all a massive inconvenience. I could have turned around, trudged back inside my home, and been irritated at my delay.
But curiosity in God’s presence encourages me to be more present too. Curiosity is an act of faith, to see what else God is doing. It is about nudging yourself to sort out the Great Mystery that is before you and me once again. We live a historically-rooted faith that each year gives us another chance to search out, to ponder, to be curious as to why God works the way God does, and to be curious about how God is with us.
What is most curious to me is that God doesn’t rush much. Nor does God push us or force us to get all this mystery unraveled in a couple of clicks or a few short texts. As I read in another mentor’s email this week, God doesn’t have anything to prove.
And, if we allow ourselves that faith is about living, making mistakes, learning, and being, you and I don’t have anything to prove to God either. God already knows us. God sees, hears and loves you and me, just the way we are. And yet, God is also curious as to how we want to serve with the life we have been given. We have free will, and with that, God’s curiosity was gifted to each of us.
Isn’t it curious how Advent can get lost in the activities and tasks of creating a holiday season of memories? But it doesn’t have to because everything you do, from shopping to baking, from visiting relatives to decorating your Christmas tree, carries a bit of detail and wonder, just waiting for you. When you step into your ordinary life with curiosity as your guide, curiosity takes your hand and makes sure to show you all the best stuff possible.
And from there, everything is possible, even salvation itself.
About the Author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom and joy.
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