Advent 2: Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community
Pray the Collect for This Sunday.
Read the Scripture Together: Mark 1:1-8
Reflection: Proclaim Good News
God sent John the Baptist to proclaim the good news that we could repent, be forgiven, and return to God’s dream of restoration and salvation. John didn’t just cry out in the wilderness; he prepared people to enter the waters of baptism, to share their deepest truths, and to rise up ready for healed and reconciled relationship with God and with their neighbors.
In the Labyrinth: Proclaiming the Dream of Beloved Community
Healing, reconciliation, and justice are big ideas, but they all begin with exploring our stories, shared history and deepest longings. If you listened closely to your church and your neighbors and civic partners, what might you hear? What experiences have people had around race, ethnicity, and culture? Is there a shared vision of Beloved Community? What collective commitments and behaviors could you all make that would begin to foster Beloved Community?
Make It Real: Listening & Learning Session
Gather in groups of ideally no more than seven people each.
Review the Conversation Tips from the welcome letter. Ask each participant to tell a story using one of the following prompts. Allow at most two minutes for each story, with a little silence but no discussion between each. Each group should designate a timekeeper who will gently but clearly indicate when each speaker has 30 seconds left, then 10 seconds, and when time is up.
- When I walk around this neighborhood/town/city/community, I feel …
- When I look at our neighborhood/town/city/community, I dream of …
- To me, Beloved Community looks like …
- I was especially aware of my race when I …
- I was saddened about race in our neighborhood/town/city/community when …
- I was grateful for race in our neighborhood/town/city/community when …
- To foster Beloved Community, I hope to …Offer everyone the opportunity to share a story.
If there is time, go a second round and invite each person to choose a different prompt. Leave 10 minutes to discuss the following questions:
- What surprised you? Did someone’s story change the way you view a situation or idea?
- What stories and perspectives do you wish you could hear?
- How can you humbly invite those voices to the listening & learning process?
You may name hopes for deeper relationship with neighbors who differ from the gathered group. You may also acknowledge the dreams each person has shared, and how they resonate with God’s dream of healing and wholeness for the whole creation.