When I’m upset about something, I can get into a bad headspace. Instead of living in the moment, I get focused about worse case scenarios. I can start to play these out in my head until all I see is a dark future. Instead of being thankful for my many gifts, I can only think of what I don’t have, or what I might lose. I start getting short tempered and difficult to live with.
I was in that place on a recent Saturday. I wasn’t feeling in the least bit social, and I wasn’t looking forward to worship on Sunday morning. I got up early that Sunday to spend time with the Lord, but my mood wasn’t improved.
I showed up at the church, I got my robe on, and I gathered with those who would serve at the altar. We prayed together. As I often do, I thanked God for this time to gather, and I praised him for his Word and Sacrament. I asked him to stir up his Spirit, and to reorder our hearts and minds as we worshipped him.
The Eucharistic Feast, the ancient pattern of worship we engage in, brings me away from the world of my feelings and my thoughts. Instead of living in a universe in which my own head makes reality, the Eucharist opens my heart and mind to the Truth. That day as I engaged in worship, from the opening words to the music to the reading of the Word all the way through the celebration of Communion, God did a work in me. I had arrived that morning with a disordered way of thinking. I went home recognizing that Christ was enthroned and that I was not the maker of reality.
Advent is a time for reordering. By grace, we stay focused on Christ and not on the things of this world. All the products that society has to offer begin to look more like the dust they are made from. The Lord is exalted as we look to him and allow him to put us back in alignment with Heaven.
I end this post with a prayer written about 1650 years ago by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who’s feast day this is. I commend this prayer to your use when you are feeling disordered.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are for me medicine when I am sick; you are my strength when I need help; you are life itself when I fear death; you are the way when I long for heaven; you are light when all is dark; you are my food when I need nourishment.”
--St. Ambrose of Milan