When we first proposed coming to Downtown Phoenix everyone wanted to know what we were going to do down here. All we could tell them was, “something new.”
Our first few weeks on the ground, as we met the folk who would be our friends and neighbors, partners and collaborators, in this new life and venture, they wanted to know what we were here to do. All we could tell them was, “something new.”
It’s not that we didn’t have dreams and visions. We had an idea of what was happening downtown, had spoken to folk doing new things in other parts of the country, had ideas of what we did not want to do and plans on how to begin again. We knew the elements needed to do this new thing in this new place, we just couldn’t say with certainty what it would be, because to decide ahead of time would have constrained us to the the things we already knew. We would have been limited to the potential we could grasp based on what we had experienced and what we felt called to, and we knew God’s visions for Downtown Phoenix, and Downtown Phoenix’s visions of God, were so much bigger than our limited perspectives. And so we did the most faithful thing we could think of.
In our liturgical calendar we name these four weeks before Christmas, Advent. Advent is a time of waiting, but it is not a time of idleness. It is a time of preparation. Something is coming. Something is happening. A New Thing. And it takes time to prepare, because this New Thing is bigger than any of our perspectives. It’s bigger than the possibilities we could ever imagine. It has happened before, but it’s not quite done yet, and it needs all of us in order to fully become.
But how do we prepare for something when we don’t know what it is? when we can’t even fully grasp the possibility of it? We gather with folk who have different perspectives than ours, who dream different dreams and see different visions, and we begin to dream together. We turn to the tools that our traditions have used for generations before us: Hope, Love, Peace, Joy. And we listen very carefully for the universe to speak.
Do you hear it?