Awareness Examen, Friday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Lauren Draper, Middle East Fellow
Hebrews 7:18-25 | Mark 10:24-32
Hebrews 7: 18-19 holds in tension the former commandment and the new covenant, weakness traded for hope: “For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.”
We hold on to the “better hope” of the coming of the Lord, celebrating the joy of redemption found in Christ’s birth, and “draw[ing] near to God”. Reflect today on this joy and the anticipation of what is to come whilst still holding onto the reality of today. Hold the two in tension as you read through this poem aloud.
As you read, think about the tension between the moon and the sun, the question and the answer, disappointment and anticipation, the ‘now’ and the ‘what’s to come.’ As we look around us at an often unjust world, we must remember why we have hope; as we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ, we must remember why the world needed a Savior.
I have set before you call and response,
backwards and forwards,
the waning moon and the first flicker of the sun.
I have set before you responsibility
for not just your life but for the ways that your life
intersects with others’ lives.
I have set before you chance, and mystery,
and the unanswerable questions
you will keep reaching toward.
Do not stop pursuing what you cannot know,
and do not stop living the best answers you can find.
I have set before you rituals to be kept
so that you can stand upright in the world,
and traditions to be ended so that you can know freedom.
I have set before you a world where
terrible things happen without explanation
and birds sing because they are born
I have set before you a day that calls for you
to step into it,
knowing the risk of
and the kept promise of beauty,
Rev. Laura Martin
Associate Pastor of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ*
(Inspired by Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
*Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ is a Church Partner of CMEP. To learn more visit: www.cmep.org/about/partners.
About the Author: Lauren earned her bachelor’s in Arabic and Middle East studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After spending four years in youth ministry and community building in the UK, she moved to Jerusalem. In Israel/Palestine, she continues to utilize this relational skill set through the position of Middle East Fellow, while also elevating the voices of Christian leaders in the region.