Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Advent Day 9: Monday, December 11th


The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wideawake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery. They are not yet finished with this world; they still don’t know how to struggle along and avoid the mystery, as we do. We destroy the mystery because we sense that here we reach the boundary of our being, because we want to be lord over everything and have it at our disposal, and that’s just what we cannot do with the mystery…. Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them. 

Ascension joy—inwardly we must become very quiet to hear the soft sound of this phrase at all. Joy lives in its quietness and incomprehensibility. This joy is in fact incomprehensible, for the comprehensible never makes for joy.

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge 

~~~

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. God Is In the Manger. Westminster John Knox Press. 

Advent Day 8 - Sunday, December 10th


Advent Day 7 - Saturday, December 9th




Advent Day 6 - Friday, December 8th


My soul doth magnify the Lord, 
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. 
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.

He hath shewed strength with his arm. 
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 
He hath put down the mighty from their seat 
and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things. 
And the rich he hath sent empty away. 
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel 
as he promised to our forefathers Abraham, and his seed forever. 
Amen.





Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advent Day 3 - Tuesday, December 5th

Last night's reading from God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting—that is, of hopefully doing without—will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment. 

Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them. And for those who do not want to win the friendship and love of another person—who do not expectantly open up their soul to the soul of the other person, until friendship and love come, until they make their entrance—for such people the deepest blessing of the one life of two intertwined souls will remain forever hidden. For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait. It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing, and becoming. 

Be brave for my sake, dearest Maria, even if this letter is your only token of my love this Christmas-tide. We shall both experience a few dark hours—why should we disguise that from each other? We shall ponder the incomprehensibility of our lot and be assailed by the question of why, over and above the darkness already enshrouding humanity, we should be subjected to the bitter anguish of a separation whose purpose we fail to understand…. And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.

(Letter to fiancée Maria von Wedemeyer from prison, December 13, 1943)

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. God Is In the Manger (Kindle Locations 132-146). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition. 

~~~~~~~~~~

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
     and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, 
     the spirit of wisdom and understanding, 
     the spirit of counsel and might, 
     the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, 
     or decide by what his ears hear;

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor. 

Isaiah 11:1—4a