The Weekly Breather: Releasing Broken Expectations

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Invitation

Advent is a time of expectation. Expectations seem to be an invitation to disappointment. What expectations have you let go of because they seem impossible? What do you still hope for?

First Reflection

“I will restore to you the years the locust have eaten.” – Joel 2:25

Earlier in Joel is this description of their lives: “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the devouring locust has eaten.” (Joel 1:4)
If you have any rural experience you may know how devastating locust are to a crop. A swarm of locust can wipe out a whole year in a few days.
What have you had stolen from you? What has been chewed away and destroyed? Sometimes it is one thing, even a small thing that matters greatly. Sometimes it is wave after wave until we are hardly standing.
In this time of quiet, reflect on what the devouring locust have eaten in your life.
Silently or in writing finish this statement:

“Lord, the locust have eaten…”

Second Reflection

“The Lamb on the Throne will be their shepherd, and will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17
This passage in the Revelation reflects many statements found in Jesus’ teaching. He is the Good Shepherd, leading His own by still waters. He is the One who knows His sheep by name, who seeks them out, who heals them.

In this time of quiet, open your spirit to the Shepherd and invite Him to lead you to the living water that brings Life.

Prayer

Lord, you have blessed us with feelings and emotions, allowing us to love as you love, but also to grieve as you grieve. We bring before you the many emotions within us, and ask you to be with us in them.

We bring our anger to you, Lord, which keeps us from turning to you for comfort.
Be with us in our anger, O Lord.

We bring to you our confusion, Lord, as we try to understand the losses of our life.
Be with us in our confusion, O Lord.

We bring to you our pain, Lord, as we try to make sense of senseless loss.
Be with us in our pain, O Lord.

We bring to you our emptiness, Lord, of places we thought would be full but are not.
Be with us in our emptiness, O Lord.

We bring to you our loneliness, Lord, as we walk through Advent toward the Christ mass.
Be with us in our loneliness, O Lord.

God of compassion and companionship, we stand before you in the fragile beauty of humanity. You understand our journey because you, yourself, have traveled this way.

Release

Release to God what has been consumed. Open your heart, once again, to hope. Allow the hope God gives you to enable you to see those around you in pain and hopelessness. Find ways to offer your hope to others, in gentle ways.

Marilyn Elliott is a member of the Soul Care Collective Steering Committee.

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Vice President for Community Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary and has been a church leader in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination since 1979. She has wide pastoral experience in partnership with her husband Steve. Together, they have lead three churches over 31 years, provided missionary member-care and pastoral retreats in Chile, Argentina and Venezuela since l985, and formation teaching during Field Conferences in Eastern Europe and Indonesia.

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