This session offers an introduction to Music of Eternity, the Archbishop of York’s Advent Book 2021 and paying special attention to the first section of the book Prevenience: Welcoming God’s coming (God is). Robyn Wrigley-Carr interviews Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell to deep dive into the topic.
Start the session relaxing as a group. You could share a meal, go for a walk, or even just have a chat over a cup of tea. Whatever you do, make sure everyone feels at comfortable and at home. When it’s time to start moving towards the session’s content, shift the conversation towards prayer and ask everyone what their experience of prayer is.
You can structure this how you think best. If the group knows each other well already, a free-flowing conversation will be fine. If the group is less well established, it may be best to go round in a circle giving each person a brief opportunity to share their experience about the topic. Don’t let too much discussion develop at this point (if any). What’s important is that every begins to get comfortable talking and sharing and that you as leader get a gauge on where everyone is at.
“In Advent 1940, just months before her death, Underhill reminded her
prayer group that God constantly comes to His people. However, if
our lives are filled with activities and noise, it won’t be easy to hear the
barely audible music of God’s loving Presence! He often comes softly,
in places and ways that surprise us, and His comings are rarely what we
expect, so we generally miss their ‘earthly disguise’. Cultivating a spirit
of Advent is essential, for our spiritual lives depend on God’s perpetual
coming to us. Evelyn encourages us to learn the art of listening to the
Spirit’s whisper. This involves attentive waiting and watching for what
God is doing among us and within us, and humble, eager expectancy,
so we can welcome, notice and celebrate God’s coming.”
Cultivating a spirit of advent is to learn the art of being alert to the whisper of the spirit. Advent is a time of watching and waiting. As we draw near to Christmas we have a sense of urgency that we, and the world need Gods coming, perhaps now, more than ever.
The fact that GOD IS, is the source and origin that the universe is contingent. Unless God Is there is nothing! God is ever present and perpetually coming; because God is, we can be. However as God is not tangible we can forget this. Cultivating prayer helps us to keep this ‘perpetual coming’ front and centre.
God often makes himself most present in the moments of silence, rest or waiting – the ‘time between the notes’. When we pray our expectancy and knowledge of God collide and we can sit, uninterrupted and listen.
As we think about how we are taught to pray by Christ in the Lord’s Prayer we understand that it anchors us and our Christian faith. If we could say the Lord’s Prayer once and truly mean it we would be in heaven as this involves full trust and our hearts to surrender to the words.
The action from Gods perpetual coming is that we would not be passive. The church can’t be a steady institution that simply clings to tradition, for it is the living body of the living Christ; the nucleus of the kingdom of the world. We must be a Christ centred church, a body of people who have been impacted by the power of Christ that we are compelled into action and as such, make a difference in the world. We are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet in our communities.