Oh, Chosen One

Russian Icon of the Prophet Isaiah--Wikipedia Labeled for noncommercial reuse.

Russian Icon of the Prophet Isaiah–Wikipedia, labeled for noncommercial reuse.

This morning, my reading took me to the second book of Isaiah, known as The Book of Consolation in my translation. I never tire of reading this, the voice of God through his prophet reminding me over and over again that, in spite of myself, God continues to choose me.

I’m revisiting a book that I read years ago,

Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey

that helps us explore avenues of prayer suited to one’s personality type as defined by the Myers-Briggs. For people like me who can’t exist without time for prayer and quiet (Intuitive, Feeling) one prayer form that the authors recommend is Lectio Divino (Divine Reading), that is reading and entering into dialogue with God about what one has read. They suggest when reading Second Isaiah, to insert your own name whenever God is addressing Israel.

Check out these verses, for example. I will leave a blank, for you to substitute your name:

“But now, thus says the Lord,
who created you, ________, and formed you, _______:
do not fear for I have called you by name.
You are mine.” Is. 43: 1

“Hear then, ________, my servant,
_________, whom I have chosen.
Thus says the Lord, who made you,
your help, who formed you from the womb:
Do not fear, __________, my servant,
____________, whom I have chosen.” Is. 44: 1-2

This is what it is all about, isn’t it? Bringing home scripture, making it alive today in our own experience. Remembering that we are God’s chosen and he is speaking to us. Divine reading, indeed!

If you have never taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, may I suggest this book, a simple test and analysis of all 16 temperaments…helpful not only for prayer, but also in understanding personal relationships. My husband and I are the exact opposites on one another–complementary and challenging! (Click on the book titles to access these books on Amazon).

Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types Paperback by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates

By the way, for the fiction writers among you, this is the book I use to help me to develop characters who are consistent, but who will also throw in an occasional surprise by acting out of character.

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The Challenge of Light

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Challenge of Light

i.
advent is not about the coming
of a sweet baby.
it is not about sentimental,
trumped-up emotion.
advent challenges us
to an adult acceptance
of the kingdom of god,
to social imperatives,
to self-forgetfulness,
to letting go,
to a deliberate emptiness.

ii.
we like to make the Christ
into a perpetual baby.
we can cuddle a baby,
a baby asks nothing of us.
the Christ is so much more demanding.

iii.
advent doesn’t just happen
the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
our lives our one huge advent.
our lives are about bringing light
into this dark world.

iv.
in advent and winter we wait for light.
do we forget it’s up to us
to be light in the darkness
of a world that is
confused
stumbling
blinded
afraid?

v.
it’s easy to get hung up
in religion,
in practice,
in institutional think.
it’s easy to feel complacent
because we go to church,
because we give money.
the litmus test
is giving of ourselves,
is embracing mystery.
advent is not just a passive waiting.
it allows that we are responsible
to be light-bearers.