For the last few years CRWRC, continuing as World Renew, and the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action (OSJ) have teamed up to offer advent devotions. The concept is: people who are working, hoping, and praying everyday for justice might have some inspiration for the rest of us while we all wait to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
This year, we are offering the advent series again and I would like to give all of you a behind the scenes look — a preview of what to expect.
We’ve invited about 45 thoughtful practitioners from our offices, World Missions, the Canadian Aboriginal Ministries Committee, Center for Public Dialogue and other CRC-connected organizations around the world to send us a submission. The theme is “a light shines in the darkness.” The questions we’ve asked invitees to respond to are:
- Where in your country do you see light (God working, in the “already” of already but not yet)?
- Where do you see darkness (brokenness, the “not yet” of already but not yet)?
- How can we join you in waiting/longing to see God?
I discussed the above questions with World Renew’s Davis Omanyo to give you a feel for one direction staff like him might take with the theme.
Where does Davis see light? In his words, “It starts with children drinking at a pond. This is the water they have. This is the water they know. This is the water they see. They also have sickness, but they do not know that it is connected to the water.”
“Then, when they see clean clear bottled water, they know in a new way what they want. When they see and drink the clean water their life changes.” Davis went on to eloquently unfold the connections that take place in his mind when he encounters this type of scene — when he sees worldviews about water, agriculture, or AIDS shift in the presence of new evidence. The image reminds Davis of what Jesus’ birth accomplishes; Jesus’ birth makes us see anew what we want.
Davis also sees darkness. In East Africa Davis encounters structures that are extremely restrictive against women. A few of the negative impacts of these structures include abuse, lack of rights, low levels of education, poor nutrition, and inadequate health care for both women and children. In these settings Davis troubles himself with questions like, “Is the church demonstrating transformation for women or is the church structured the same way as society? How can the church respond if it is a part of the crisis?”
What do you want? Davis also wonders how the church in North America reflects justice or if the church is actually a part of various justice crises through its silence or through its own structures. Being an outsider to U.S. culture, Davis is probably more equipped to answer that than most of us, still, he invites us to join him in considering such questions.
Maybe you carry some of the same unanswered questions as Davis. Maybe you see theologically significant glimpses of light in unexpected places. This is what advent is all about; waiting, to see the light of the world, to see anew what it is that we want.
Join us. Davis, the OSJ and World Renew staff, and I invite you to join us in this year’s “a light shines in the darkness” advent series. Click here, then type in your email, confirm, and wait for daily devotions to start arriving in your inbox throughout the advent season.