Advent devotion: Room in my heart
By Ralph Baechle
Contemplating the “Wonders of God’s Love” is a challenge for me. My early images of God were more of one who demands things of me and not one who is also supportive. They have not been easy to shake. Growing up I remember hearing a lesson read from the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus tells a young man to leave everything and follow him – physically, now, in my grade school mind! That scary very literal understanding has stayed with me long into my adult life. It is only in the last few years through study and reflection that I have been able to understand that passage in ways that I can live into and recognize where I have already been doing so.
For me the challenge of being able to recognize and accept the “Wonder’s of God’s Love” has been as the hymn “Joy to the World” puts it: “Let every heart prepare him room.” This has meant a lot of inner work to overcome my childhood image of God through study and other experiences. Along the way I have begun to get glimpses of God’s love. Singing is one place where I can feel it come through. Sharing about the spiritual journey in small group settings is another. Yet another is being able to serve others. Sometimes I get an experience such as delivering communion to someone in the hospital who is too sick to receive and instead asks me for some cool water – which I recognize instantly as straight out of the gospels.
Finally there is the experience of waiting in the dark with the expectation of something new coming – which the Advent season calls on us to do. My centering prayer time during Advent the last few years especially has had that feeling. The room in my heart for receiving the wonders of God’s love is growing.
Ralph Baechle is a 65-year-old information technology professional, soon to be retired. He sings in the St. Paul Chorale and participates in a variety of small groups at St. Paul and elsewhere.