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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

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Home comforts

Another postcard from the land of grief

I am finding in this foreign land of grief that occasionally I turn a corner and find a familiar thing, as if transplanted here.  It is somehow out of place, like a bright red postbox on a Latin American street, but an equally welcome sight. I stumbled across just such a thing yesterday.

I spent some hours in tearful prayer in the peaceful oasis of Douai Abbey in Woolhampton. With me I took a Bible and a brand new bound notebook.  However, when I opened the notebook, I found a familiar  verse printed at the bottom of the first  page.  It stood there, like a bright red pillar box on a foreign street – a reminder of a more familiar home. This verse had been there when I set out years ago to work with the Belgian Evangelical Mission. When I arrived in the Ardennes to lead a team for the mission, the team accommodation had been stripped bare of every item of furnishing except for ….this verse framed above the fireplace. When Fiona and I got married, the minister handed us a Bible at the altar as a gift. On the flyleaf he had written…this verse. On the morning I moved to my new church here in Newbury, the last thing I read before my Bible was packed was …this verse:

Be strong and courageous! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1 v.9

To read this was to remember that this foreign land is foreign only to me. I am no further out of reach here than I was in that other country.

Years ago, some friends of mine were stranded in the far North of Sweden and needing some help. I spoke to a friend in a global mission agency, who spoke to a friend in the Evangelical Alliance who spoke to a friend in the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, who spoke  to the pastor of the local church, who was dispatched to visit. Far away was near at hand, it seemed.

This land of grief is disorientating and unfamiliar in so many ways – but it is not out of reach. It has post-boxes too, which means that I can always send a card.

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

Delptree.jpg

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

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Border controls

Another postcard rom the land of grief

The further I go into this land of grief, the more I become aware of those things which were removed from me at the border without my knowledge or consent. Somehow at the border parts of my memories were confiscated. Never the whole of them – but there are patches missing, as if an over-zealous border guard has combed through them and left gaps. The patting down of my sense of perspective was a little ‘vigorous’ too – leaving it mis-shapen and needing to find its level again – which I have no doubt it will.

Every once in a while, though, I find some little gem here. I turn it over with glee, like finding contraband chocolate smuggled through under the very noses of the border guards. One such is a music box, which I found yesterday. It was presented to us on arrival in our first church, newly married. It depicts the two of us, with an unrecognisable amount of hair. With a little persuasion, the figure of me still rotates, slightly wonky, to the tune of ‘happy wanderer’.  What really made me smile, though, was that in order to take the photo, I had to prop the two of us up against one another.

Got that one past customs at the border, didn’t I?

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

Delptree.jpg

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

Delptree.jpg

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Glimmers of advent hope

Alfred Delp was a courageous young Jesuit priest, imprisoned in Nazi Germany for knowing too much. He was held in solitary confinement, hands in chains, until his execution. His advent sermons, smuggled out of the prison in his washing, constitute the most remarkable statement of advent theology I have ever encountered. Last year, I suggested the idea of a collaborative advent calendar, celebrating the defiance of advent hope against the darkness. This year, in my own particular darkness – it seems more appropriate than ever. Each day one of Alfred Delp’s advent sayings will be displayed here from the calendar below.

Delptree.jpg

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