"Now I'm not one to second guess
what angels have to say,
but this is such a strange way
to save the world..."
Once again, a friend's sharing of a video gave birth to this post on a night when I didn't know what He wanted me to write about...thank you.
"A Strange Way to Save the World," by Michael Card is the perfect soundtrack for the space my heart has been in since last night's candlelight service at our sweet little storefront church.
The readings from Scripture -- and from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, were all based on the timelessness of the Christmas story. And were sparked by the realization that the phrase "brought forth" also means (according to Webster) "to attract; to draw towards oneself" as in "to bring forward, to accept". For me, this definition has given new life to such familiar, and much loved, statements like:
"And the earth brought forth...." [Genesis]
"And she [Mary] brought forth her first born son..." [Luke]
"The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men." [Science and Health]
"Soul is the divine Mind, - for Soul cannot be formed or brought forth by human thought, - and must proceed from God; hence it must be sinless, and destitute of self-created or derived capacity to sin." [Miscellaneous Writings]
For me, it makes conception, gestation, and birth one fluid, beautiful motion. A graceful acceptance of the spiritual substance of those things that are flowing/radiating from God within us, the cherishing of them within our heart, and then an immediate flowing outward of their coincidental form, beauty, outline, and purpose. It is a divinely choreographed movement that reminds me of a river's flow from it's Source, eddying for the briefest of moments within the crook of the river's womb, yet continuing to flow towards the broader waters of the sea.
But I digress...back to our candlelight service.
As I sat there, I couldn't help but think of these images. And after the readings were shared, we prayed in silence, and a hymn was sung, the meeting was opened for testimonies of healing and inspiration.
There were so many lovely thoughts "brought forth." But it was during my friend, Amanda's, remarks that something broke open inside of me about this beautiful and timeless Christmas story.
Amanda was saying that she had been led to cherish the concept of "expectation" and "expectancy" all that day, asking herself questions like, "What am I expecting?" and "How large is my expectation of God's love and care?"
As she was speaking, so earnestly from the heart, I heard the question - within me, "Do you remember when you were an expectant mother? Well, think of it...you weren't empty, waiting to be filled, but right in that time of "expectancy" you were already full. You were cherishing what was already alive and growing within you...you were pregnant with the promise and its fulfillment."
I could see that the time in my tummy, was only an eddying, not a creating or a waiting to be. The waters of my child's true substance were always flowing from their divine Source, and were continuing to flow freely forward towards the broader ocean of God's purpose for her. She was never "mine." I could never contain her, any more that the river is being contained while it eddies in a lovely cove or inlet along its course.
It was like a light turning on in my soul.
I could suddenly see that when we are led to cherish an expectation...it is not in anticipation of its possible fulfillment, but the celebration of what already is present and living in, and around, and through us.
I love thinking of expectant father, Joseph, as the humble receptacle of a divine covenant. Much the way a riverbed holds the waters of the river. While at the same time, those same waters gently carve out a newness to its outline. It begs the question, what is defining the shape of the river, the earthen banks...rocks, mud, trees, or the flowing of the water...or both?
Joseph begins our story as the perplexed, but trusting, fiance' of a young girl, and the Christ carves out in him a timeless place in history as a fully vested father, the purest of manservants to the Lord's promised "peace on earth, good will to man."
An obscure village, this simple carpenter, a rough hewn stable, an unmarried girl, a babe - "beloved, replete, by flesh embound"...all filled with a divine purpose.
A strange way to save a world...maybe.
But what is it that you are expectant with tonight? What is it that you think can't possibly "make sense?" What will you take into the quiet manger for a star to reveal, for wisemen to worship, for kings to bring gifts to the feet of, and for shepherds to bow before?
What will you "bring forth" from the fullness of your heart...from the quiet sanctuary of your earnest longings, already pregnant with promise...and fulfillment?
sitting with you in expectancy, and with a heart full of love on this holy night...
Kate Robertson, CS
[quotes above are from the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy]