A busy Advent has meant I am a bit behind. So here is a report from our second Adults Advent Group:

We spent the whole evening looking at the figure of Jesus Christ. In investigating the Kingdom of God, Christ is at the very heart, for he is the King. We began with a meditation highlighting how hearing and praying with the gospel stories teaches not only teaches us about ourselves and others but brings us face to face with Christ who knows and loves us.

In silence we then considered times when we have learnt something about Christ or encountered him in a new or striking way.  Splitting into groups we talked about our experiences and looked at the Old Testament reading for Sunday (Isaiah 1-10) and also Philipians 2:1-11.

Here are some of the strands from the feedback:

  • One group talked about the definition of “The fear of the Lord.” This comes from the full reality of who God is. It is a deep respect and awe in the face of this reality, in the same way that fishermen have respect for the sea.
  • One group shared their experience of meeting Christ like people, those who have something of the humility and love described in the Philipians reading. This can be seen as the result of God’s grace in a person’s life and comes out of prayer and community life.
  • Christ sees the heart. He doesn’t judge by the exterior. (from the Isaiah reading)
  • An encounter with Christ, brings an awarenss of his deep love for us and his compassion; he knows and meets our needs.
  • We can be surprised by Christ; he is not only what we perceive him to be.
  • Christ embodies the true reality of love, joy, peace etc. In humanity we can see these things but they are a mere shadow of the reality in Christ. When we see Christ we see these things in their true form.
  • The Isaiah reading signals a shift to seeing the Kingdom embodied in the Messiah.
  • When we consider Christ’s attributes we get a glimpse of the wholeness that Christ is. There is also a dynamic of the encounter with Christ that brings us to a place of being loved and forgiven and as a result we find hope. This changes our perspective for here we can ask “Who am I in Christ? How am I seen by him?”

We finished the evening with a prayer, written by Joseph Tetlow SJ, based on a part of the Spiritual Exercises where a person reflects on Christ as King.:

Eternal Lord of All things,

I feel your gaze on me.

I sense that your Mother stands near, watching,

And that with you are all the great beings of heaven

Angels and powers and martyrs and saints.

Lord Jesus, I think you have put a desire in me.

If you will help me, please,

I would like to make my offering:

I want it to be my desire, and my choice,

Provided that you want it too,

To live my life as you lived yours.

I know that you lived an insignificant person

In a little, despised town;

I know that you rarely tasted luxury and never privilege,

And that you resolutely refused to accept power.

I know that you suffered rejection by leaders, abandonment by friends and failure.

I know. I can hardly bear the thought of it all.

But it seems a toweringly wonderful thing

That you might call me to follow you and stand with you. I will labour with you to bring God’s reign,

If you will give me the gift to do it.