The word proclamation is defined as ‘a public announcement about something important, often of national importance’. As it is not a word that is currently in frequent use, I wonder what thoughts or images flow through your mind when you hear or see this word? The Town Crier of bygone ages ringing his bell and shouting, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez’? Politicians and Presidents making announcements of national importance? Or something else!
Depending on the version you read, there appear to be between 15 and 9 verses containing the word ‘proclamation’ in the Bible. In last week’s Preparing For Advent Reflection, I commented briefly on Isaiah 40:3, the voice of one calling in the wilderness, proclaiming it was time to prepare the way for God’s arrival.
Further on in the book of Isaiah in chapter 62:11 the theme of proclamation reoccurs:
The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! NIV
Walk out of the gates. Get going! Get the road ready for the people. Build the highway. Get at it! Clear the debris, hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples! Yes! God has broadcast to all the world: “Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes MSG
Last week’s reflection gave you an opportunity to consider how you would mark the Advent season this year and to gather the resources you needed to do so.
However, Advent can be a busy season in the run up to Christmas, with a variety of preparations needing to be made. It can be quite stressful juggling the everyday roles and responsibilities and finding time to make the necessary preparations, and finding time to be still. This year, after so many months of the global Covid-19 pandemic, changes in employment and circumstances, together with the restrictions of lockdown may add additional pressure to an already busy time.
So, as preparations begin to get underway, I would like to suggest a short stillness activity, that will allow you to ponder on scripture and listen to God. It is an activity that I personally have found profound at times and one which stills my mind and enables me to hear the “still small voice” of God.(1 Kings 19:12 KJV)
You will need a large piece of plain paper and a large plate and a pen and/or some coloured crayons or pens.
If you do not have a large piece of paper you could stick two A4 pieces together.
- Draw round the plate to form a circle.
- Read the two versions of Isaiah 62:11 above, slowly three times and choose a word, or phrase or a verse that is highlighted for you today/resonates with you today.
- When you have selected your word, or phrase, or verse, then begin to slowly write it out, going round and round your circle, starting at the rim and moving towards the middle…..or if you prefer starting in the middle and moving out to the rim! You can use the same colour to write with throughout the activity, or you can vary the colour as you go round, whichever seems most appropriate for you.
- As you write the word, phrase, or verse, listen to what God might reveal to you through it.
- When you have finished, pause and wait a moment or two and see if God has anything else he wants to show you/tell you.
- Before you leave this time of stillness, take a moment to pray and thank God for this time with him and all that he has shown you.
- Finally, record your experience of this exercise, either digitally or by writing in a notebook or journal.