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Advent Reflections

Three Short Paragraphs

A Rev. Steph Reflection

Advent Week 2…Peace

December 11, 2019

Odes 1[i]

When I first read this ode, the first verse slapped me in the spiritual face, and I must admit I liked it. There is no exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, but at times, I read it as if there is.  And then there are times I read it as if it is said in a whisper.  What remains significant for me is that every time that I read it, I am searching for the same thing, Peace of Mind.  And the verse never fails to deliver.  It could be in the midst of pain, fear, chaos, love or joy, I always find peace when I read “The Lord is upon my head like a crown, And I will not be without him.”

The Ode writer pivots from the declaration in verse one, to a beautiful conversation between them-self and the Lord that lets the reader know just why they refuse to be without their Lord.  It is full of the things that helps one not only remember their faith, but fervently hold onto it.  In the midst of government[ii] and societal persecution[iii], as well as fighting among church leaders[iv], being able to remind one’s self that “The Crown of truth was braided for me, And caused your branches to bloom within me” can bring a spirit of peace that First Century Syrians most likely prayed for during liturgical moments.

In the midst of all the similarities that are going on in our 21st century, this Ode is a powerful reminder of the importance to take spiritual agency, and reclaim our peace.  And a reminder to find rest in the Lord that lovingly provides the validation of that peace.  There is a portion of Alice Walker’s four-part definition of Womanist that describes one as, “Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically for health.”[v]  During this Advent season, let us put our hope in holding on to our purpose without sacrificing our peace. 

[i] Ode 1

1 The Lord is upon my head like a crown, And I will not be without him./ 2. The crown of truth was braided for me And caused your branches to bloom within me. / 3. For it is not a barren crown that never blooms / 4. But you live upon my head And blossomed down upon me. / 5. Your fruits are full and overflowing They are full of your salvation.

Taussig, H. (2013). A New New Tesatment. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt .

[ii] "The exclusive sovereignty of Christ clashed with Caesar's claims to his own exclusive sovereignty."[6]:87 The Roman empire practiced religious Syncretism and did not demand loyalty to one god, but they did demand preeminent loyalty to the state, and this was expected to be demonstrated through the practices of the state religion with numerous feast and festival days throughout the year.[8]:84–90[9] The nature of Christian monotheism prevented Christians from participating in anything involving 'other gods'.[10]:60 Christians did not participate in feast days or processionals or offer sacrifices or light incense to the gods; this produced hostility.[7] They refused to offer incense to the Roman emperor, and in the minds of the people, the "emperor, when viewed as a god, was ... the embodiment of the Roman empire",[11] so Christians were seen as disloyal to both.[6]:87[12]  

Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire (n.d.) Wikipedia Retrieved December 11, 2019 from

[iii]“Christianity practiced an inclusivity not found in the social caste system of Roman empire and was therefore perceived by its opponents as a "disruptive and, most significantly, a competitive menace to the traditional class/gender based order of Roman society".[13]:120–126 Gibbon argued that the seeming tendency of Christian converts to renounce their family and country and their frequent predictions of impending disasters instilled a feeling of apprehension in their pagan neighbours.[18]

Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire (n.d.) Wikipedia Retrieved December 11, 2019 from

[iv] Peter is Opposed by Paul over the Law

   Galatians 2:11-14

[v] WOMANIST 1. From womanish. (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious.

2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally a universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige and black?” Ans. “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.” Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

3. Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.

4. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.

Walker, A. (1983). In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Originally posted at Neo-Womanist Soul Blog. Click link below:

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