Advent 4: Repairing the Breach in Institutions and Society
Pray the Collect for This Sunday.
Read the Scripture Together: Luke 1:26-38
Reflection: Here I Am ...
Imagine young Mary’s surprise: She has just learned she carries the Messiah in her womb. Impossible! Rather than balk at the enormity of her call, Mary leans into the power of the Spirit and says “yes.” The idea of healing and transforming deeply broken systems, structures, and institutions may sound impossible to us. We can borrow Mary’s courage and faith and say as a church: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord.”
In the Labyrinth: Repairing the Breach in Institutions and Society
God came among us in Jesus because of the deep, divine longing to love and repair this world. What social institutions and systems are broken around you? Where do you notice systems and structures that reflect racial injustice? How could we together participate in the repair, restoration, and healing of institutions and systems?
Make It Real: In Solidarity Exercise
The coming of Christ is so close we can sense him. Dwell for a moment with your own longing for Jesus’ coming. After some silence, as a whole group, sing or speak this hymn:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lowly exile here, until the son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
Invite people to pause and silently imagine communities near and far who wait for ransom and relief: refugees, immigrants with or without documentation, prisoners and detainees in the criminal justice system, victims of human trafficking, and many others. What unjust systems and institutions in our society disproportionately target people of color? In a posture of deep prayer, name these systems aloud. After naming and capturing them, and reviewing the Conversation Tips from the welcome letter, reflect as a group:
- Which of these systems and institutions most intersects with the life of your church or community? Agree on no more than two.
- What efforts can you identify, as a group, that contribute to healing and transforming the systems you have named? Research options on the web in real time.
- How could your church actively participate in repairing one of the systems the group identified? Together, set one concrete, achievable goal for engagement in the year ahead.
Invite people to name what graces they have experienced in these Advent sessions. Name the gifts you need, as individuals and as a congregation, to keep walking the labyrinth and becoming Beloved Community. You might finally ask Jesus to dwell richly in you, so that you can share his light and be Jesus Movement people in the world.