Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Mixtape: Advent 4

Welcome to Monday Mix Tape, in which I pretend I'm Ira Glass.  You know, I choose a theme and share with you several variations on the theme from the worlds of art, faith and culture.  To keep up the fun little facade of making a weekly mix tape, I label each of these finds as "track 1",  "track 2", and so on (and just like the stack of mixtapes you've got hidden in a box in your attic, you never know when you might see some love song from Journey or Lionel Richie show up here).

Today's mix continues in the marking of Advent.  Over the past four weeks I've been sharing some of the ways my family and I have been trying to step out of our own tyranny of the urgent and step into the alternate universe of kingdom time. Won't you join us in this counter-cultural, counter-consumeristic, counter-Church-as-therapy, counter-instant gratification, counter-mass media experiment?

Our Advent journey as a family is not as easily categorized by theme as some Advent materials I've seen, but I've tried to create a phrase that basically summarizes our focus for each week. In the reality that is family life, not one thing is easily categorized.  Any of the readings and activities we've done together could be looked at through the lens of any category. What's important to me is that when we turn the liturgical page to Epiphany, we can look back to the previous six weeks and know that we've been immersed, made new again,  in an ancient-living river of spiritual practice and Scriptural truth.

Week four is about humility.  We've hope-giggled (hope), home-bodied (preparation), and heart-opened (joy).  Now we humble-mind, let the mind of our Christ become our mind.  The same Christ was able to look on the interests of others above His own, who did not need to grasp at His God-hood for his significance, who put on the skin of the suffering, the poor, the needy. The humbled and stooped-down.  This is the mind of our Christ and we desire it to be our own, even though our flesh, our culture and all Hell come against it.
"If I had one sermon to preach, it would be  a sermon against Pride. The more I see of existence...the more I am convinced of the reality of the old religious thesis, that all evil began with some attempt at superiority; some moment when, as we might say, the very skies were cracked across like  a mirror, because there was a sneer in Heaven."
-- G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man
A mixtape of images, sounds, words that are helping me enter these truths, common objects afire with God....

track 1: visual art

Jose Orozco, 1926

track 2:  music

I hadn't listened to this album since last Advent until today.  It may very well be the best contemporary Advent hymns album I've discovered yet.  I encourage you to spend some time with this album this week!

track 3:  lyrics & poetry

Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendour: "This hymn was written at a particularly difficult time in the history of the missions to China. Missionaries had been captured by the communist Red Army and released in poor health after over a year of suffering. Others had been captured never to be heard from again. In 1934 the young missionaries John and Betty Stam (my great aunt and uncle) were captured in Anhwei and beheaded . The news of these sorrows had reached the mission's headquarters in Shanghai. Though this was a very dangerous time for both the Chinese Christians and the foreign missionaries, Frank Houghton decided he needed to begin a tour through the country to visit various missionary outposts. While traveling over the mountains of Szechwan, the powerful and comforting words of 2 Corinthians 8:9, "though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor," were transformed into this beautiful Christmas hymn." (click here and scroll down for more notes on the hymn)

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becomes poor.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
                -- Frank Houghton (1894-1972)

track 4:  video
The Work of the People combined one of the songs from Ordinary Time's album with video footage.  I think it is quite compelling.  See for yourself.

track 5: links
We were able to attend a screening of 58: the film at Christ Church last night.  The entire Murphy family will be pondering and discussing the content and challenge presented for a while; I suspect some of that will spill into my posts here.  For now, I encourage you to check out the work of 58: (from Isaiah 58).  The website is very easy to follow and will give challenge your premises on global poverty.  

If you want a simpler critical review, I'll quote Andrew:  It [the film] was very good.  I was so glad we weren't submitted to "poverty porn".  I'll let you dig into that insight on your own.

Join the movement to end extreme poverty

May you know the ungrasping-confidence of Christ this final week of Advent!
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