...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Psalms of Advent: Nunc Dimittis, Simeon's Departing in Peace

What does God want to give me?
Am I open to receiving it? 
Now, master, let your servant go in peace...
 because my eyes have seen your salvation.
You prepared this salvation
   in the presence of all peoples.
 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles
      and a glory for your people Israel.
---Luke 2:29-32 CEB
With this little Lukan psalm, we approach one of the many paradoxes of the season: the more we push our ego agenda of needs, wants, should-s, and have to-s on ourselves and others,  the less peace we experience. 
The promise of blessing in our going out and coming in (Psalm 121) becomes painfully unattainable when all we allow ourselves to hear is the cacophony within and around us. How many times must I  be asked the progressively annoying question, "Are you ready for Christmas yet?"

James has it right: "You don't have because you don't ask. You ask and don't have because you ask with evil intentions, to waste it on your own cravings." The promise for Simeon and for us is enduring peace, peace born of the Holy Spirit, as we surrender our false expectations for having life on our terms.

We are not necessarily good at waiting for what we want and even less patient when it comes to what God wants. The wonder of Advent is not our patience, but God's. Holy Spirit is now, of this moment. God's advent is already here--the prime question is, where am I?
As far as I can see, righteous Simeon remains the only man who was truly ready to welcome the Redeemer, the Christ, the Messiah. He didn't need one more thing. His spirit was full- out of surrender, empty and open to receiving the gift of God, the Christ. So much so that he could both "lie down and sleep in peace."
Now, let your servant depart in peace. Could it be that using Simeon's prayer each evening as a simple Compline, or completion of my day, will help me unload, empty, and wash away whatever is most false within? 

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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