FIRST UNITED’s Spiritual Care ministry has put together a few resources for the Advent season.
Over the coming weeks we’ll also be sharing two different forms of Advent content:
- “Advent Awakening” video series by Rev. Jennifer Goddard-Sheppard, Interim Spiritual Care Director, and accompanying text.
- “An Uncomfortable Advent” podcast series by Lauren Sanders, Indigenous Spiritual Care Chaplain, and Pastor Peter Sanders, Ordained Clergy with Presbyterian Church USA.
Following this Intro, there will be both a new video and new podcast episode, every week. They’ll cover Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Christmas.
We hope you’ll use these in your services or groups, and that it will be an opportunity for discussion and reflection. Sign up for our e-newsletters and follow us on social media for all the latest updates about Advent, FIRST UNITED, and the Downtown Eastside.
Advent Series Intros
Listen to the first An Uncomfortable Advent podcast episode:
Watch the first Advent Awakening video below: Remembering and Retelling The Story
Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy
Remembering and retelling the story
Welcome to the season of Advent. Welcome to a time of re-membering and retelling the stories of Truth and Reconciliation Day, National Day of Action for MMIWG, National Red Dress Day. These are just a few of the special days of re-membering scattered throughout the year.
These are days of honouring the dead, of allyship with the survivors, of learning, unlearning and re-membering what we thought we knew about our history, our traditions, and our current actions and attitudes.
We hear a lot about Truth and Reconciliation. What about the lies and separation? Ask your Indigenous colleagues and friends what they think about Truth and reconciliation? There are many perspectives. Many “lived experiences” of the TRUTH of cultural genocide and the deep racism embedded in Canada and the world.
What is truth? Who’s truth? Who gets to tell their story? Who needs to listen? And what difference does it all make?
The Spiritual Care department of First United has committed to “Truth-Telling” as our interpretive lens for the next few years in the life, times, and evolution of First United.
The path of truth, reconciliation and right relationship is strewn with good intentions, broken promises, and failed relationships.
For over 100 years First United has been trying to be in right relationship with the downtown eastside community. Hard and holy service in a hard part of town. We keep trying to respond. This is our work. To keep trying to be in right relationship. To keep practicing the presence through prayer and action as we keep serving and seeking justice and right relationship here and now.
Key steps in the movement from wrong relationship to right relationship are truth telling and confession (“I was wrong”), apology (“I am sorry”) and asking for forgiveness (“Please forgive me”).
Have you ever said these words aloud? Few were taught and not many learned how to admit their wrongdoing and all the ways they missed the mark. Aka sin. Even less have learned to apologize well. And forgiveness seems like an unreachable dream that is more aspirational than achievable.
Are you practicing “right relationship” with yourself, your family, friends, and colleagues? Are you living into right relationship with your neighbour and the local Indigenous people? Are you even trying?
Many of us are in living in wrong relationship with ourselves and our world. The evidence of wrong relationship is everywhere.
And so it is and here we are. Do we despair? No! For HOPE LIVES HERE.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
When we learn and can practice THE WAY, from wrong relationship to right relationship, we are able to return to that steady state of equilibrium within ourselves and in relationship with others. And in that steady state of being, hope lives, no matter what the external state of negativity, upset and unrest may be.
Our Advent awakening is to prepare the way and to wait expectantly upon the delivery of the great good news. “For unto us a child is born.” Hope incarnate! Let us be open to THE WAY, the truth and the life that liberates and sets us free.
Be prepared to LISTEN even if you are uncomfortable with what you may hear? Be prepared to be silent in the presence of hard and painful truths being spoken. Be open to being transformed by the power of the spirit of truth flowing through the storyteller and the story. What truth is the living word speaking to you? Listen for the truth it holds.
Truth Telling requires speakers and listeners. During the season of Advent you are invited to listen and respond to the truth telling you hear.
PREPARE THE WAY! Let us join together to listen, re-member, and re-activate our prayerful acts and actions of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE. Let us do our part and help to make the KINDOM come here and now.
Through the Truth Telling of Advent and Christmas, may you experience the Holy presence of The Great Creator.
If you’d like us to send you video or text files, we would be pleased to send you an mp4 video file and/or a Microsoft Word document directly. Please send any requests to [email protected]