Pastor’s Blog Dec. 2020

Dec 7, 2020 by

Having  entered  into  this  season  of  Advent,  and during  a  time  when  things  in  our  culture  and  world are  especially  stressful  and  concerning  to  many,  we in  the  church  are  called  to  turn  aside  from  excess distractions and wait attentively each day for Christ’s fresh arrival in  our hearts.   This  is always our  daily bread.  We respond to God’s invitation to prayer by showing up with adoring attentiveness.    In a clergy retreat in Northern Virginia in the fall of 2010, Marjorie J. Thompson shared a quote by Evelyn Underhill.    It  was  on  adoring  prayer  as  a fundamental  means  for  renewing  one’s  spirit  and energy in the midst of rigorous service in the church, but this applies to all Christians, for each is called to serve.  Underhill, who lived from 1875 to 1941, was an  Anglican  writer  and  retreat  leader  in  England, known  for  her  numerous  works  on  religion  and spiritual  practice,  especially  Christian  mysticism.  Her  quote,  below,  resonates  with  John  Wesley’s teachings  on  how  human  beings  receive  God’s  love through  continued  relationship  with  God  and  then reflect  that  love  toward  all other  creatures.1    If  we, who  are  made  in  God’s  loving  image,  are  not regularly receiving grace and love from God through prayer,  as  a  mirror  receives  light,  then  we  cannot transmit  it  further.    Underhill’s  words  offer  wise advice  to  all  Christians  especially  for  those  times when our energy is running low:    “Adoration,  and  not  intercession  or  petition, must  be  the  very  heart  of  the  life  of  prayer.    For prayer comes from God, belongs to God, is destined from  God.    Our  ultimate  effect  as  transmitters  of heavenly  light  and  love  directly  depends  on  this adoring attentiveness.   The remedy for  that sense of impotence,  that  desperate  spiritual  exhaustion  that religion  workers  too  often  know,  is  an  inner  life governed not by petition but by adoring prayer.  It is only when our hearts are thus actually at rest in God, in peaceful and self-oblivious adoration, that we can hope to show God’s attractiveness to others.  For in it our  souls  recapture,  if  only  for  a  moment,  the fundamental relation of the tiny, created spirit with its Eternal  Source;  in  it  we  breathe  deeply  the atmosphere of eternity.  Moreover, from this adoring prayer all the other prayerful dispositions of our souls seem ultimately to spring:  a deep, humble contrition, gratitude  for  all  that  is  given  us,  increasing  charity.  Thus, it is surely of the first importance for those who are  called  to  exacting  lives  of  service  to  determine that nothing shall interfere with the development and steady, daily practice of loving and adoring prayer.  It alone  maintains  the  soul’s  energy  and  peace,  and checks  the  temptation  to  leave  God  for  God’s service.”    Let  us  all  choose  a  time  each  day  (and  a back-up time, if the first is hindered) to turn off our electronic devices, draw away from holiday business, into  a  quite  corner,  and  lift  our  hearts  to  God  in adorating  attentiveness,  so  that  we  may  be  peaceful “transmitters,”  reflecting  God’s  “attractiveness  to others.”   

Wishing each of you a blessed Advent and a Christmas saturated with an awareness of God’s glorious presence.              

Betsy Caudill 

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