ALCOA, Tenn. (Dec. 12, 2018) -- In 2016, one of my colleagues visited Rome with her husband during the Christmas season. She took numerous pictures of the nativity scenes in the cathedrals and monasteries.
However, one particular nativity scene stood in stark contrast to the more elaborate, serene scenes of the Holy Family. In the midst of rubble, ashes, and destruction Christ is born.
I believe Christ is still born in the midst of the rubble we experience in broken relationships; the ashes of destruction caused by our prejudices and discrimination; the growing chasm of divisiveness and violence in our communities and country; and the fear and anxiety about the upcoming General Conference 2019. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we seek those places we can experience the Incarnate Christ born again in the midst of emotional experiences of life.
The Welcoming Prayer, developed by Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, invites the Incarnate Christ to dwell within us dismantling the emotions of a particular situation and to heal the emotional wounds we’ve stored in our bodies. When you have an overly emotional experience, take a few moments to be still and silent following these steps:
Focus: Feel and sink into the feelings, emotions, thoughts, sensations and commentaries in your body.
Welcome God in the feelings, emotions, thoughts, commentaries or sensations in your body by saying, “Welcome.”
Let go by repeating the following sentences:
“I let go of the desire for security, affection, control.”
“I let go of the desire to change this feeling/sensation.”
As you pray the Welcoming Prayer, consent to the Incarnate Christ’s healing presence to be born within the rubble and ashes of hurt, anger, fear, and anxiety. In this Advent and Christmas season, I pray that through this practice you can experience the deep, abiding peace of the Incarnate Christ.
The Rev. Susan Groseclose is associate director of connectional ministries for discipleship, available at email@example.com or 865-690-4080.