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We carry on in winter, today the second Sunday of Advent in the Christian tradition. A season in which we can accompany and be accompanied by Mary. Together gestating, regardless of gender, the Christic within. Gestating takes place in sacred darkness in the womb of our heart and requires waiting and trusting as we have no way of knowing exactly what is to come. Together we tend to and make way for the Christ to be born through each of us. We also remember that during these tender weeks we can cultivate connection to and draw deeply from the virtues of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love growing inside. Last week we focused on Hope and this week we focus on the substance of Peace. This type of Peace of course is beyond our typical ideas of peace tied to the notion that everything is as we wish or there is an absence of discord or conflict. This is the Peace that surpasses all understanding, a sense that amidst all that is not well, all is well. Like mystical hope it is something we must find within our own awakened heart. If you wish, join me in a breath prayer to find Peace in the wellspring of your awakened heart this week. Breath prayers are a practice in many traditions and are a way to pray ‘without ceasing.’ We are always breathing and therefore we can take this prayer with us into each moment of the day - on the way to work in traffic, while Christmas shopping, cooking dinner, etc. Breathe naturally and silently in your head as you inhale, breathe in “in my heart” and as you exhale, breathe out “I find Peace.” Let’s access and share the virtue of Peace this week. Peace within and upon us all, Heather


Here are a couple of the Readings from this week's pauses: “. . . hope is not intended to be an extraordinary infusion, ‘but an abiding state of being.’ We lose sight of the invitation—and in fact, our ‘responsibility,’ as stewards of creation—to develop a conscious and permanent connection to this wellspring. We miss the call to become a vessel, to become a chalice into which this divine energy can pour; a lamp through which you can shine.” “Before we can really begin to work with the idea of hope dwelling within rather than coming from without, we need to have some picture of where and how it could dwell in us, what inside us could embody it. Obviously there is a paradox here, an eye of the needle to thread. We ourselves are not the ‘source’ of that hope; we do not manufacture it. But the source dwells deep within us and flows to us with an unstinting abundance, so much so that in fact it might be more accurate to say we dwell within ‘it.’” — Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope “...Christ came not to dispel the darkness but to teach us to dwell with integrity, compassion, and love in the midst of ambiguity. The one who grew in the fertile darkness of Mary’s womb knew that darkness is not evil of itself. Rather, it can become the tending place in which our longings for healing, justice, and peace grow and come to birth. This is the gift that God holds out to us in this season: to carry the light, yes, but also to see in the dark and to find that shape of things in the shadows… In darkness and in light, God beckons us to keep vigil and to companion another in this and every season. In giving voice to our visions, we find strength in the shadows and a presence that guides the way.” Not to One But to many you have called: Come On the dancing wind Come From the deepest forest Come From the highest places Come From the distant lands Come From the edge of darkness Come From the depth of fear And become the bearers of God. I will never return to my original landscape, I know; the currents forever change the lay of my land, and the tides ever shift my bones But for a moment, God, gather up the water-soaked skirts you drag across my terrain, and let me see the curves of my soul undisturbed by the torrents that wash through my days. — Jan Richardson, Night Visions


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