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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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Single ticket

Another postcard from the land of grief

As I continue to live in this new land of grief, I am struck by the parallels with other times when I have stayed away from home. At first, you can be so taken with the novelty of what you see around you, that the country you have left behind seems shabby, or dull, or uninteresting by comparison. Stay a little longer, and some of the quirks of what you have left behind assume a kind of rosy glow, making you curious to sample them once again. Stay longer still, and the limitations of the new place may become rather more annoying than the ones you have left behind. In short, it is time to go back.

The comparison is not altogether fair, since the travels I describe above have always been ones I have chosen to undertake. Not so on this occasion. Furthermore, going back is not an option. I cannot go back to where I used to live – my ticket was one way. That is not to say that I am stuck here though. There is a path – but it lies ahead, rather than behind. I have not been here long enough to discern it yet- but I know that it is ‘over there’ in Another Place.

Yesterday I paid a visit to Anthony Gormley’s artwork of the same name – a place I had last visited with Fiona. The statues still stand there – stock still and staring out to sea. Sometimes they are hidden, sometimes they stand tall – but always they turn their steely gaze to another place.

I was especially struck by the figure below. The waves were lapping at his chest, and all but engulfing him. He is unmoved though – and he continues to look to Another Place. I am hoping that I can do the same…

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CLICK for full size

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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.

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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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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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