Advent Week 1 – December 2 – 8
“Each of us is capable of growing our powers and skills in giving and receiving love. Despite this truth many die of thirst in a freshwater lake. All about us are people who can give us what we need; we must only learn to ask and then pay up by receiving. When we lay bare our needs and open ourselves to receive love we move from independence to interdependence, the basis of true community.”
— Gerald and Elisabeth Jud, Training in the Art of Loving
Week One’s Skill of Loving is SEEING.
SEEING: I see you in your uniqueness, not how I want or assume you to be, and I allow myself to be seen.
This week we invite you to consciously practice SEEING as a way of loving our way through the darkest of days. Share stories, insights and discoveries in this group.
Some Possibilities for Practicing SEEING others in their uniqueness, not how you want or assume them to be, and allowing yourself to be seen:
Seeing Self: Spend some time alone, perhaps even in front of a mirror, paying attention to and loving different aspects of yourself. What does seeing yourself, and allowing yourself to be seen feel like? Does any resistance arise within you?
Seeing In Close Relationships: Seeing others close to you with love can be as simple as slowing down to just notice who they are and how they move in the world. When you practicing seeing, is what you see different from what you wanted or assumed you would see? What do you do differently when you allow yourself to be seen by others?
Seeing in Community: Notice the culture of the communities/groups of which you are part. Is seeing and being seen part of the culture? What happens when you practice seeing in your communities/groups?
Seeing in the Public Sphere: If, as Cornel West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” how does the practice of seeing impact your engagement in the public sphere, in the advancement of justice? How would policies and systems have to change if we truly saw one another in our uniqueness?
Seeing in the Earth Community: How does it feel to extend the practice of seeing to more than human beings…plants, animals, elements?
Connection with Christian Scriptures
Mark 17:10 – 27
In this story, a rich man approaches Jesus declaring his faithfulness and telling Jesus about all the good and righteous things he has done in his life, hoping that he has done all the right things to earn “eternal life.” Jesus replied by “looking at him and loving him.” And then Jesus told him the truth: the path to “eternal life” for the rich involves downward mobility: “you lack one thing…sell everything you have and give it to the poor and then come follow me.” The man left, grieving.
In this passage, Jesus saw the man. Jesus saw his material wealth and his good works. He also saw how a well-intentioned person can be caught in economic systems, consumerism and cultural addictions that keep him and others from participating in a life of joy and love for all.
As an additional reflection, have you ever felt seen and loved as your complete self — your gifts, talents and good works as well as your addictions and complicity in oppressive systems and consumerism? Could you see and love yourself and others in that way? What happens when you do?