Advent, Christmas, education, energized, everyday life, glory, God's glory, Isaiah, learning, luster, shift, surprise, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, understanding, vantage point
This morning’s Scripture readings began with the familiar phrase, “On that day…” that is usually followed with a promise of some import to be visited on God’s people. Today it is Isaiah promising “luster and glory…honor and splendor…” (IS 4:2-6). Promise for the future is important to keep us going; I spoke of it yesterday in terms of Advent and the coming of Christmas. But sometimes I wonder if we are really interested in the possibility that awaits us – or even if we believe what we are reading, perhaps based on what we have experienced in past years when the cycle has come and gone with little effect on our lives.
This morning, just to get me through my first cup of coffee, I read two articles from my graduate school quarterly, the Middlebury Magazine. Middlebury is an amazing school with an equally amazing endowment so it is natural to expect great things happening there. I was interested in the interview of the editor, Matt Jennings, with the relatively new President of the College, Laurie Patton, (in her second year at the post) because I had not yet “met” her and was interested in what she brings to Middlebury. I was pleased with what I learned and found it consonant with the article that followed about a pilot program begun there in 2014. Called What’s the Story? it “seeks to alter our understanding of secondary education” by bringing together high school students from several locations and grade levels who work in small groups on a project of their own choosing for almost an entire school year with an adult mentor (Midd grads who teach in the state). At the completion of the research and development, there are presentations around the state as outcome of the learnings and credit is given for the work. Not only are the projects interesting and important but the students learn innovative ways of research and presentation, with perhaps the most important element of all being the process of working together as agents of their own learning.
Although the two paragraphs above may seem unrelated, I found myself strangely energized after having read the articles and easily fell into thinking about how to shift things in my “everyday life” to make more happen interiorly for me during this month of Advent. Creativity is definitely the link. Practices have to be (dare I use the word) relevant and meaningful and necessary tasks seen in a different light that adds to the coherence of it all. I guess I’m looking for a little “luster” today – just a start so that I will notice “God’s glory” when I arrive at Christmas day. Sometimes a shift in perspective doesn’t mean a 180 degree turn but just a little inching toward the goal from a different vantage point. And a little willingness to be creative will surely win the day. Forgive me if you are left saying, “HUH???” after reading all this. It may be a case of “You had to be there…” to understand my enthusiasm. All I can say is, “trust me. Every day is worth what we put into it and what we get out of it may just surprise us.” So on we go!