Advent during a Pandemic (1)

Field Guide for an Advent Wilderness

Week 1: Hope, November 29th, 2020

Has hope been hard to find this year? Have you been reticent to actually hope for things to get back to how they were before a pandemic hit our world because you keep getting disappointed? How many of your hopes have not come to pass this year? How many events or gatherings did you hope for that were canceled? 

It indeed has been a year of a different kind of hope. Hope looked different this year because we began to hope that we and those we love would be healthy and Covid-free rather than for our favorite sports team to win. We hoped for essential workers to stay safe and for folks to make it who had been laid off instead of hoping for a grand vacation. We hoped for the mere chance to hug each other in our faith communities’ sanctuaries again. 

This year forced our priorities to change. Normally, Advent and Lent are periods of time when we take pause to reorient our hearts. But, since March, our hearts have been forcibly reoriented. Time has slowed. Schedules have slowed. Isolation as a form of love became the new norm. 

What lessons have you learned this pandemic? In all the hardness, do not miss the gifts of learning that have been given to you, even if you didn’t want to learn them. 

Take time this week to journal, answering the questions: 

    How have I been changed this 2020 year? 

What do I hope to keep from the learning I gained this year, or what

do I need to let go of? 

    Name your hopes. 

Then, draw a picture of what hope looks like to you in December 2020. This will be a gift to yourself when you look back on this year of pandemic. 

Remember what is, was and is to come is the Lord’s. 

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault reminds us: “Nothing can fall out of God, nothing.” 

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less by Edward Mote, 1834

My hope is built on nothing less

than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

all other ground is sinking sand,

all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,

I rest on his unchanging grace;

in ev’ry high and stormy gale,

my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood

support me in the whelming flood;

when all around my soul gives way,

he then is all my hope and stay.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,

O may I then in him be found,

dressed in his righteousness alone,

faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

all other ground is sinking sand,

all other ground is sinking sand.

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