Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Well, we did a "provocative word" exercise tonight in EFM, and I want to take it a little further.

Here is the word they stuck in front of us...a very typical "Advent" word, since we are "preparing for the birth of Christ" in Advent:


We were then asked to reflect and describe on the word as it was shown to us.

Good old "geometrical me," I noticed first that the red "P" separated "Pre" and "are" into two equal halves. "Pre" as in the past, and "are" as in the here and now. The middle "P" is a "red letter."

Then this huge profound thought came over me. How in my life (and I imagine, in the lives of many others), there are all these things that move us from the "past" into the "present". They are often "red letter things." Red like how blood might be shed, in a psychological sense. How in our spiritual lives, as we move closer to the realities of God, we have to face old ghosts, shed old habits, and leave things behind on the journey into the reality of "now" that are not needed for this part of the trip. It's very much like when the pioneers went west. First they had to shed themselves of the possessions they would not need. No room for sentimentality. Then sometimes, on the journey, they discovered there was even more they did not need and left it on the trail.

How many times in our lives must we face "red letter days" to push us into the "reality of now?" If not for those "red letter days," we would never have faced "now." They are painful, but they are necessary. They allow us to turn our face forward, to face light instead of dark.

Then I thought about how that red "P" not only SEPARATES the word, it JOINS the word. Red, like the Blood of Christ. I thought about the Eucharist (one of my favorite things to think about). How the Eucharist joins what was, what is, and what will be. When "pre" and "are" seem so far apart in our lives, like two different planets, that red "P"--the Presence of Christ--can join them. They are never really separate when the Presence of Christ is in the middle of it!

Wow, that is a lot of interesting stuff all stuffed into one little red "P"!

I think I'm going to concentrate this Advent on that "red P". I think I'm going to spend the next few weeks looking for that Presence in all of the mess that I loathe about "commercial yuletide." I bet I find it behind the tinsel all over the place.


Oooooooh....very cool!!!

I haven't done a Provocative Word TR yet---looks like it's about time to try one.

I will have work very hard to get past all the "Christmas crap." It feels like the original Sisyphean task to keep focused on Advent when all my children can talk about is what they want for Christmas. (How did I end up with these little capitalist consumption machines?!?! I don't want stuff, hate shopping, and would dispense with gift-giving altogether if I could...)

Maria, actually the word was to be in royal blue with a rose pink "P" in the middle --- somewhat loosely reminiscent of the candles on an advent wreath but i do like your exposition much better!

I thought about how busy we get preparing for something, like buying the right groceries and preparing them perfectly for a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, buying the perfect gifts to put under the perfect tree in the perfectly decorated house. By the time the actual event gets here we're to tired and burnt out and stressed out we can't enjoy it. And then, almost before we turn around, we have to gear up to start preparing for the next event, just as surely as Valentine's candy and cards will appear in the stores on Christmas Day jsut as the Christmas things appeared on Labor Day.

I'm glad my life is simple enough now that I don't have to fuss with preparing so much outwardly and can spend more time on the inward job. Trust me, it's much needed.


I am so stressed out tonight but glad to be reading this.

I am going to draw my own little prepare with the letters like that and will see about doing my own provocative word exercise too.

Thank you for this!!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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