Old Testament – “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
New Testament – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Spiritual Focus ~ “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeves
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – My hope, Exhale – is in the Lord
Devotion ~ The season of Advent is upon us. The word Advent means “coming or arrival” in Latin, and in Greek, the word Advent translates as parousia meaning “presence or second coming.” Advent in the Western church is a spiritual journey where we remember that Christ came, Christ will come again, and Christ is with us now. With this universal emphasis, it’s no wonder that those who participate in the spiritual journey of Advent look to history and tradition to form practices today. For example, some may refer to Advent as “Little Lent,” while the Celtic tradition actually extends the Advent season to 40 days. Celtic spiritual practices, much like the practices of the Western church today, include reading scripture, lighting candles, singing, praying and fasting. Common themes for reflection are hope, peace, joy, and love. Today we reflect on how we might practice waiting in hope.
Hope in the biblical sense means confidently expecting God to be faithful to God’s promises of presence and abundant life. Hope is a powerful, reassuring belief that when we are in desperate times, things will be alright. Hope is our focus and strength when our attention is drawn away from the object of our faith, God and God’s activity in the world.
In the sacred texts of yoga philosophy, the Sutras of Patanjali, it is written, “By faith, by vigor or courage, by memory of having experienced the Self and through the deep state of equanimity, a state of heightened awareness is gained” (Sutra 20). Patanjali essentially taught that all yoga is a matter of managing our vritti, or mind chatter, so that we may focus on the object of our faith. Various practices within yoga help us focus on our faith and manage this mind chatter. One approach is to take time before you enter your practice to remember in a word or two a time when you hoped for something and your hope was fulfilled or maybe even exceeded your expectations. Use that word or two with breath as a vehicle to return to your intention, an intention to wait expectantly and hope in the Lord.