The Hidden Voices of Advent

This last week I have embarked on an orgy of reading as part of my Advent discipline.  I have dipped into Jean Vanier the founder of the L’Arche communities, Mother Theresa from the Sisters of Charity and Richard Twiss, a leader in the First Nation’s movement in North America.  At the same time I continue to grapple with what it means to live as a Christ follower in God’s global community and how our experience of the coming of Christ at this season impacts our response to the global economic crisis.

What do all these authors have in common you may well ask?  They all express powerfully our need to not just listen to voices from the margins but also to recognize that it is through people who are disabled, destitute and excluded that God often speaks most powerfully.

In this season of Advent how does Christ come to us through the voices of those who are displaced, despised and abused?  In the midst of our busyness and stress are we even open to hearing such voices and recognizing our need to listen and learn from them?

“To love is a way of looking, of touching of listening to all” Jean Vanier reminds us.  If we really long for the coming of Christ and the eternal kingdom of mutual love, abundance and wholeness that his return will bring into being in all its fullness how do we wait at this season and how do we live into this world today?  How do we live by what what NT Wright calls the language of the kingdom and what James calls the royal law – love for God and love of neighbour.

I think that to live in true anticipation of the coming of Christ we must commit ourselves afresh to live according to this language of love.  We must all open our eyes to see and respond to the face of God in every stranger.  We must open our eyes to hear the voice of God in every outcast and must open our lives to be the love of God to every person we encounter who has been cast bu the wayside because of race, class, education, disabilities, illness, gender or any other disfigurement that excludes them from our lives and our society.  It is not an easy task that God challenges us with but it is essential if we really want to see the light of Christ shine in the many dark places of our world.

Maybe as part of your Advent reflections this week you would like to listen to this short video that expresses Mother Theresa’s view of the importance of the poor and the destitute

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About Christine Sine

I currently live in Seattle Washington with my husband Tom & our golden retriever Bonnie. We live in a small community that you can check out at My husband and I run a small organization called Mustard Seed Associates and work to assist churches and Christian organizations to engage the challenges of the 21st Century. I also speak on issues relating to changing our timestyle and lifestyle to develop a more spiritual rhythm, missions and health, and women’s issues. I am an adjunct professor for Fuller Theological Seminary in Seattle. If you visit us in Seattle you might find me out in the garden harvesting luscious tomatoes. Or you might find me inside knitting a sweater or working on a new book or video on creating a liturgy of life. I also love photography & reading. We love practicing hospitality and cooking food from all over the world. We particularly enjoy teaching people how to party the kingdom 24/7. In a former life I trained as a physician in Australia and developed and directed the healthcare ministry for Mercy Ships. I still work as a consultant in international healthcare and travel medicine as well as conducting seminars to help prepare people for overseas mission service. I have worked in Africa, Asia, Central America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. She is the author of three books GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life (Barclay Press 2006), Travel Well World Vision Resources 2005 and Tales of a Seasick Doctor (Zondervan 1996). Christine and Tom also co-authored Living on Purpose: Finding God’s Best for Your Life. (Baker Books 2002).

3 thoughts on “The Hidden Voices of Advent

  1. I do so agree – and it is quite horrifying how differently people react to ordinary people like me according to what they know and the circumstances in which they find themselves. One small step is to treat everybody as a person.

  2. Lovely! I believe Christ’s command “to love” should be shouted from the housetops!
    I am certainly not Mother Teresa however as I do Nursing and live in my community, I pray “I love” and that spirit is shown through me!

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