December Newsletter

Entering Advent
Advent has come and we are called to enter it. The season of expectant waiting, of discernment, cultivating silence, hibernation, of hope, joy, peace, and love. Yet, this Advent feels strange. Most years the Nebraska weather welcomes us to slow down and sink into the spirit of the season. Cold winds blow, snow falls, and icy streets nudge us into slowing down and solitude even as the holidays push us towards activity and materialism. Often nature itself helps provide us with balance. This year, we have yet to have a snow fall and are experiencing the warmest winter weather that I can ever remember. Half blessed by the ability to still go out on walks and runs, have saddened by the warming climate and its impacts on our ecosystems and economies. Not to mention the ongoing pandemic that has changed life so much. A season of so many “Both Ands,” contradictions, and paradoxes. Much like Mary’s journey. Blessed by being overshadowed, blessed by birth, blessed by giving birth to the Christ. Yet, there was no room at the inn and her motherhood was likely far from ideal as she watched Jesus suffer on the cross. What do we do with all of this? Is it possible to cultivate the virtues of Advent, hope, joy, peace, and love, in the midst of concern, sadness, and lament?

The “Both Ands” of life are difficult to deal with without surrendering to something greater than ourselves. In the contemplative tradition and in Advent this is what we are called to, to turn over our lives to God and God’s emerging dream for creation, which includes us. Yet, like Mary, Christ is ours to birth. As a special part of God’s creation God asks us to help make this dream a reality. So, we enter Advent, a time of discernment, cultivation, and waiting. Waiting for that ever-occurring birth of Christ in us, through us, and throughout all creation. This holiday season what is yours to let go of, to comfort, to forgive, to do, to love, to accept, to transform, to birth? The answer to this may be something simple that breathes new life into you or a relationship. The letting go of an old resentment or addiction to something that is not life giving or loving. The answer for you may be something more daunting or challenging but whatever it is big, small, or in between, each birth of Christ has the power to change everything. May you seek God in the “Both Ands” of life, may you find solace, silence, and solitude to stoke the Holy Spirit fires within you, may you be led into discernment on what is yours to birth this Christmas season. I leave you with this quote from Reinhold Niebuhr:

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”
The Christmas Story: A Liturgy of Scripture and Silence OnlineOur annual tradition continues; this year online via Zoom. Join us for an hour of scripture and silence as we mix the Christmas story with periods of reflection and silent prayer. We will begin with a story for children before entering into the full liturgy.
Register
11-Week Online Book Study
A Hidden Wholeness: the Journey toward an Undivided Life by Parker Palmer. In this book Parker Palmer, author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change, brings together these themes in an invitation for “soul work.” Join us on the “journey toward an undivided life”– a group exploration of “What am I all about and what do I think about that?” Purchase the Book Prior to Study. After the study participants are invited to join an ongoing group that practices the spiritual technologies describe in the book. 
Register
 House Church: We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren
Join us on our year long journey at our online House Church through Brian McLaren’s “We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation” This study follows the church calendar with an insightful unpacking of scripture along the way. Join us for contemplation, communion, conversation, and worship. Register to receive the link to join us on zoom.
All events are on Zoom!
Links: 

Lectio Divina Mondays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom
Pray the scriptures. We read a passage 4 times with short silences followed by discussion.

Centering Prayer Tuesdays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. Simple contemplative prayer in which we consent to the transformative power of God in lives.

Contemplative Wespace Wednesday 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. A whole body meditation awakening us to our deep connection to each other, physical reality, and each other. Our time also includes a brief check-in. 

BioSpiritual Focusing Thursdays 9:15am: Register via this link on zoom. A practice that provides a way to bring the body’s sense for grace and God into everyday awareness, helping you to become more fully present to yourself, others and to God. 

Contemplative Movement Fridays 5:30pm-6:30pm: Register via this link on zoom. A contemplative whole body experience for every body. 

House Church Sunday’s 4pm-5pm: Register via this link on zoom. Worship, conversation, and contemplation. A house church style church service with Eucharist. 

Contemplative Conversation Sundays at 2:30 PM (The Work of the People Short Films & Other Lectures and Talks) Register via this link on zoomWe watch films with today’s influential theologians and contemplatives gaining wisdom and finishing with a time of sharing. 
Support CL While You Shop
Help make a difference while you shop in the Amazon app, at no extra cost to you. Simply follow the instructions below to select “Transformative Life Inc” (Contemplate Lincoln) as your charity and activate AmazonSmile in the app. They’ll donate a portion of your eligible mobile app purchases to us.

How it works:
1. Open the Amazon app on your phone
2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on “AmazonSmile” within Programs & Features
3. Select “Transformative Life Inc” as your charity
4. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app