Last week, as our team of nine gathered around computer screens for our weekly meeting, I opened our time together with an invitation to be vulnerable and name our fears. We’ve got Advent on the brain lately, so I used Rev. Michaele LaVigne’s lesson for the Fourth Sunday of Advent to guide our moment of reflection.
Here’s a snippet of what I shared with the team from her book Living the Way of Jesus: Practicing the Christian Calendar One Week at a Time: “Fear is a powerful yet subtle force that often directs our decision and actions. It may be even more powerful when we are not aware of its influence.”
One by one, with closed eyes and open hearts, we named our fears out loud around the virtual table. I sat in awe as our team shared honest uncertainties, griefs, and worries. And I was reminded that if our team is struggling to navigate troublesome waters in our own lives, it’s likely you are, too.
We closed our prayer with a soft, disjointed chorus of amens. Tears cleansed several faces in the squares on my screen. Relief hung in the air like a collective sigh. Naming our fears frees us.
In many ways, this is what Advent asks from us. We are invited to draw in and be expectant. To inhale and be patient. To do what's hard and holy. As we enter this time marked by longing, may we not forget to exhale. Let us name our fears and allow ourselves to be influenced by something more powerful: hope.