Monday, December 8
For Sunday, December 14th, 3rd Sunday of Advent
READ: Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11 “bind up”
REFLECT: The image that came up when I read “bind up” was of a make-shift splint – a crude assembling of sticks on either side of a leg, with a long strip of cloth wrapped around the sticks from ankle to hip. It’s bulky and awkward. And of course, normal range of motion and unassisted mobility is significantly limited.
As I continued to read, I was reminded of someone I know who recently had a foot injury. He was on crutches for a short time, and then back to regular dress shoes every day. After a while, I’d completely forgotten about his injury. One day, months later, a report came that he was seen literally hopping from his car to the building. Hopping, because he was in so much pain. Fortunately for him, a friend with good sense saw him, picked him up and drove him straight to the emergency room.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame him one bit. I hate feeling restricted or limited in any way. I’ve never been rebellious in an outright or obvious way. But I’m convinced that I have good sense and that I know both my limits and of what I’m capable. I certainly don’t like being told to slow down or that I’m doing too much. And I know I’m not the only one.
In “Thrive,” Arianna Huffington describes the way we wear our sleep-deprived, over-stressed, over-committed states like badges of honor. We’re not the “oaks of righteousness” that this prophetic text calls us to be. Righteousness, or right living, eludes us. But it doesn’t have to. As people of faith, we are called to live rightly, to live prophetically, to live in a way that speaks truth to our world. Let’s not wait until we are in a bind and only able to hop before we take action in our lives.
RESPOND: God, we’ve gotten ourselves into a twisted mess of misplaced pride, where we value doing too much and running ourselves ragged, where we feel guilty about taking time to rest and do things that are more life-giving than life-draining. Help us to see the truth that limiting how much we do is not restricting, but instead is truly freeing.
During the so-called holiday season all of this only tends to get worse. But if you’re ready to stop hopping, to stop just getting by, choose one area of your life to be a prophetic witness. Maybe it’s getting more sleep. Maybe it’s turning off email or Facebook notifications. Maybe it’s declining second helpings at every holiday gathering from now until January. Don’t think of it as a challenge that you could potentially fail, but rather as an intention and a direction toward which to strive.
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
1 Thessalonians 5.16-24
John 1.6-8, 19-28
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.