Preparing the Heart: A Quickening Spirit

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So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a quickening spirit.
~1Corinthians 15:45

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All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.
~Romans 8:22-28 from The Message by Eugene Petersen

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…like Mary, I believe that we too can become pregnant with God.
~Luci Shaw

There is a distinct and memorable moment in pregnancy, around 16 weeks, when there is an undeniable awareness of movement within the womb–initially a fluttery feeling, but then over the next few days, there are tickly sensations, then rolling, then pushes. It is referred to clinically as “quickening”–an emphatic evidence of life within–and there is a profound acknowledgment that one’s life is no longer one’s own. It is now shared.

Jesus is called the “second Adam” through his death and resurrection, a quickening spirit now shared with us, so much more than the simple life and breath of the first Adam. The spirit lives and breathes within us, fluttering and rolling, pushing us from inside, creating in us more than we ever could become on our own. We are startled by its presence, amazed by its touch, forever transformed, pregnant with possibility and never, never to be the same again.

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Welcoming Heart

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come–
Chinese Proverb

I need reminding that what I offer from my heart reflects what I will receive there.  If I’m grumbling and breaking like a dying vine instead of a green tree, my discouragement entangled by the cobwebs and mildew of worry, then no singing bird will come.

So much better to nurture the singers of joy and gladness with a heart budding green with gratitude, anticipating and expectant.

The welcome mat is out and waiting.

Any time now…

Longing for Longing

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…
to find the place where all the beauty came from.”

~C.S. Lewis

Like children who long for Christmas,
anticipating for weeks
what that moment will be like
when they see gifts piled high under the tree–

we revel in our longing.

It is the sweetness
of “already but not yet”,
knowing with eager expectancy
there is more to come,
just a bit out of reach
but still intensely seen and felt,
something more wonderful,
a place more beautiful than we can ever imagine…

Called to Advent–Expecting

The Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3

Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of spiritual life.
Simone Weil

During Advent we are pregnant with anticipated possibility, expectant like Mary and Elizabeth, the new life growing inside us about to change us forever. And like Mary and Elizabeth, we are not in this alone, but are expectant side by side, in a community of support. Together we celebrate the coming dawn of love and life that will overshadow the ever-present darkness of hatred, suffering and death.

Be a womb. Be a dwelling for God. Be surprised.
Loretta Ross-Gotta

I treasure (Mary’s) story because it forces me to ask: When the mystery of God’s love breaks through into my consciousness, do I run from it? Or am I virgin enough to respond from my deepest, truest self, and say a “yes” that will change me forever?

Kathleen Norris