Location: The Chapter Room
Contact: The Rev. Dr. Bob Hanson
As Judao-Christians we have a rich tradition in Advent. In the Tanakh it was preparation for the coming of the Messiah, the one anointed to be King and to free us from any kind of slavery. In Christianity our preparation is both the fulfillment of the messianic prophesy, and the coming of our own Lord, YahVeh’s giving of Himself for our freedom from the slavery of our sinfulness, our consequent spiritual demise, and the always pending threat of physical or spiritual death. Our Hebrew inheritance also includes insights into the meaning of this preparation through prayer, and also in prayer.The Hebrew sages called this preparation the Kavanah. Kavanah means intention, direction or order. We worship a God who preexisted all creation We worship a God who demands justice for all, and who cares for this creation. We worship a God who made us in His own image! This Ruler, this Adonai, holiest of all holinesses, invites, no, demands that we be in a personal relationship with Him, both as a loving and caring God, but also a God who so loves so much us that he also gave us the massively loving gift of a Savior, a Son, a model. Thus as we approach God’s gift of prayer we do so mindful of the sacredness of this invitation, but also remember Who it is before Whom we stand. Kavanah gives us these guidelines: 1. Clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts or concerns. 2. Review your week, and if there are any persons you’ve wronged, in any way, amend those wrongs. 3. then go to that special place you’ve identified and name it as a holy place. At this point allow yourself some silent moments. Then our guidelines suggest five topical areas for consideration: a) praising God, b )offering thanks, c)`confession, d) accepting forgiveness, and e) petitioning for your needed wants. Advent’s worship needs to mirror God’s saving acts for His chosen people, Israel, even as Christmastide mirrors our own salvation. Advent’s recognition is another form of preparation.