Advent means “being” rather than “doing”…

Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore the Master takes action by letting things take their course. Lao Tzu

Meditation: Lao Tzu’s Eastern spirituality seems so foreign to us Western Protestant Christians. We usually base our lives on a high work ethic combined with high expectations of how we are supposed to build “God’s Kingdom” here on earth, while we are aiming for “holiness”, (surely only after having been saved by “grace”.) The Western culture, including capitalism, is built around these three Christian “driving” forces: high work ethic, the thinking that we humans are supposed to establish God’s Kingdom while aiming at perfection (which we try to camouflage humbly by naming it “holiness”). Are we aware of the shadow side of our collective Western “industrious” interpretation of Christianity? Eastern Spirituality can balance us out. Instead of forcing and grasping, instead of believing that it is all up to us, we are invited to allow God to work through processes of natural growing and maturing. Being patient with one’s self and others and refraining from “pushing and doing” needs to become for us a daily practicing of God’s Grace. Our Eastern brothers and sisters are calling us away from “doing” into “being”. Oh, how hard this lesson can be for us over-functioning and perfectionist Western “doers”!

Prayer: Gracious God, we are often not aware how our Western culture has hijacked Christianity to create industrialism and capitalism. We often do not question our approach of “doing” too much in Your name (or is it our name?), while You invite us to rather “be” with You and watch Your Grace at work in this world. In this Advent season, please, slow us down. Help us accept Your Grace that we need ourselves every day. And help us be more patient and grace filled with each other. Save us from an enculturated Christianity that glorifies human accomplishments instead of allowing life to grow and ripe according to Your will. Amen

People can plan what they want to do, but it is the Lord who guides their steps. Proverbs 16:9