Following each Sunday of Advent I’m catching up with Andrew Urquhart on New Zealand’s Rhema to talk about the theme for that week. Since Sunday was the second Sunday we talked about the theme of peace. You can listen to the chat below.
Recently I was giving some thought to how I would describe those moments in contemplative silence where I have felt like I experienced something – a sort of transcendence. For me those moments are few and far between but they’re important to my ongoing journey. Most of the time silence feels like a bit of a struggle and hard work, but I’m at a point where my day doesn’t feel like it started out right if I don’t do it – if I don’t place myself before God and give myself over as the beginning of all else that will proceed from that point in my daylight hours. Yet amongst that, there are times that are different, where I’m drawn towards letting go.If I was putting the indescribable into words it would be like standing on the edge of a cliff and being called to step out. When I first experienced it I felt fear and apprehension. It was a call to giving over control and exercising a great deal of trust and in that first moment I couldn’t do it. I spoke about it with one of the monks at Kopua Monastery and he assured me it was a completely normal feeling and to just go with it – let go. Since then I have felt it on a couple of occasions and have ventured to ‘take the step’ so to speak. The result has been a great sense of freedom and the very real knowledge of being ‘in God’ – floating. It has acted as an assurance. So rather than stepping off a cliff and entering free-fall it has been stepping off a cliff (the cliff being my own need for control) and stepping into the presence of God.
This is for you coffee lovers. Check out the video below about coffee from the Coffee Brewing Institute in 1961. It’s great! You’ll notice some of the brewing techniques that are back in vogue albeit with more refined equipment now.
Across the weeks of Advent I’ll be chatting with Andrew Urquhart on the Morning Show at New Zealand’s Rhema. We’ll be talking each Monday morning about the Advent theme for that week. On Monday we did an introductory chat about Advent. You can listen to it below.
Note, there is a correction. I mentioned the ’40 days’ of Advent. I had in mind the Eastern Nativity Fast (which I had just been reading about) rather than the four Sundays of the Western practice, but I never made that distinction. Thankfully Andrew brought it back to the four Sundays straight away.
In my line of work with TEAR Fund one of the things I get questioned on quite a bit is how to get a job in an organisation like this. People wanting to make a difference often look to the development sector in the search for humanitarian jobs. Hopefully this post will point you in the direction of some first steps if that’s you.
When seeking out humanitarian jobs there are two basic ends of the spectrum to consider. One is the side that’s on the ground offering direct benefit in the communities targeted by aid and development, and the other is in the supply end where resources are raised and sent from. When looking at humanitarian jobs those two ends require different skill sets and demonstrate the breadth of entry points – of course the reality is way more complex than that, but thinking about it like this to start with is helpful.
Friday the 29th was Black Friday in the US – a time of ultimate consumption. It’s about sales galore and businesses driving retail to kick off the Christmas shopping and push their profits as high as they can get them. People respond in a frenzied fashion. In contrast is thanksgiving the day before and yesterday marked the beginning of Advent. Advent is a time in the Christian calendar when we begin preparation for the gift of Jesus into the world in humble circumstances in Bethlehem.
I don’t normally give Black Friday a second thought as it’s not a thing in Aotearoa New Zealand, but I did this time because what I was doing couldn’t have contrasted more.