Advent Reflection Guide - Page 4

Advent Sunday Week 2 - Luke : 3:1-6
Suggestion for Service
Prayer

Advent Sunday Week 2 - Luke : 3:1-6

By Kevin Lopez Mader , Farm of the Child / Finca del Niño
I ’ m a math and science person . I ’ ve grown accustomed to finding the “ right ” answer . And I struggle to hold that in tension with my Christian calling to go out and build the Kingdom . Because once I step away from my coding languages and math equations , things don ’ t operate as expected . There are no “ right ” words , or at least they never come to me at the right times . I can ’ t use some well-defined order of operations to cleanly solve others ’ problems . I can ’ t easily extricate myself from my complicity in structural sin or balance competing goods that have different values for people with different perspectives .
And I so dearly long for the “ right ” answers . I want to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation with God where I ask for and receive clear instructions on how to best use my time to build towards a better world . But I rarely receive a clear reply .
So I ’ ll sometimes just go out and try to fill in the nearest valley to the best of my abilities . And occasionally things fall into place and my efforts translate directly into visible results . But more often I put in effort for weeks on end and , stepping back , can ’ t tell if I ’ ve helped or hurt the cause . Maybe I was too narrow-minded to see things from others ’ perspectives . Or maybe I didn ’ t quite say the right thing . Or I thought that I needed to fix a situation and found out I was the person there least equipped for that role . Instead of filling in the valley , it can feel like I ’ ve just been pushing dirt around and have made another hole or two in the process .
And if I ’ m not careful , the perfectionist in me will get lulled into inaction . I ’ ll allow myself to get caught up in considering efficiency and how to design better systems . I ’ ll look at what others have done and start finding ways to criticize their efforts rather than my own . Or , most likely , I ’ ll just allow myself to get distracted with anything besides my perceived ineptitude .
And sure , sometimes our efforts aren ’ t particularly fruitful , but that doesn ’ t give us an excuse to stop working for a better world . Nor should it allow us to slip back into our safe places , away from the margins , pretending that they don ’ t exist . We aren ’ t called to smooth out the rough paths all by ourselves , but we are called to do our part as a member of a larger community . We ’ re a pilgrim people , ever journeying towards God , ever striving to build the Kingdom , ever preparing the way of the Lord . And we aren ’ t necessarily called to get everything right the first time . But we are called to try .

Suggestion for Service

Prayer

Dear Lord , I want to be your hands and feet in the world , but this world is complex and I can ’ t always figure it out . I ’ m constantly besieged by questions of inadequacy . Help ! Help me to make some sense out of the choices I have . Help me to act , even when I feel inadequate . Help me to do the right thing , or if there isn ’ t quite one “ right ” answer , help me to choose well amidst competing goods . Help me to get out of my own head and shift my focus to others . And help us collectively seek solutions that protect the vulnerable , forgotten , and marginalized .
Amen
Think of a friend who is already volunteering in service of a vulnerable , forgotten , or marginalized population . Ask to join them in their service this week .