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An Advent Devotional From Rev. Nicholas Kolivas


Being a Buddhist Christian and an ordained progressive Christian minister, Advent takes on a variety of meanings for me. I love the idea of being in waiting for the birth of the Christ child. In meditation, one may wait to receive an epiphany, message, or simply greater clarity in one’s life. Unlike many meditation books, which guide one to acknowledge their discursive thoughts in the moment and not cling to them, I allow my mind to simply flow in a natural state, completely empty of any inherent existence, not being separate from the interdependence of all compounded phenomena. Is it possible that God meets one in this letting go, from time to time? Being aware and alert, yet relaxed and composed, we meander through what Teresa of Avila referred to as the many rooms and seven mansions of the soul, which were contained, or embodied, in an interior castle. Here I am only referring to the imagery of the rooms, mansions, and the interior castle.


So, in the four weeks of Advent, we slowly move through the mansions of the interior castle, preparing and anticipating the arrival not of a conquering God but the Prince of Peace. Afterall, we may not need an army of angels to save us but instead to move us closer to a peaceful heart, mind, and way of living.


In college, I took a pivotal course titled “International Violence”. In it, my professor proclaimed that at any given point in recorded human history, there have been at least 70 wars going on. And although wars, and violence, appear to have decreased over time, they have gotten deadlier and more precise and targeted. And what of the concept of acceptable losses?


Advent means coming and refers to the coming of Jesus the Christ to live, teach, preach, and prophesy among us. Jesus, who dined with sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes, and gave living water to the Samaritan woman, or priestess, at the well, did not discriminate against any innocent person. And he did not favor those whom he felt were hypocrites, especially those in the priestly class. Jesus would not condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery, telling her accusers that if any of them had never sinned in their lives, to cast the first stone at the woman. Not even a pebble was launched at her.


The Holy Land in the Levant, or Palestine, and including Jerusalem, is just that. A Holy Land for not only people of the Jewish and Christian faiths, but also, people of the Muslim faith.


Is it acceptable that any person born to the Muslim faith, in the West Bank, to have their life cut short for religious or any historical reason?


Is it acceptable that any person born to the Jewish or Christian faiths in Israel, to have their life cut short for religious or any historical reason?


We light a candle each Sunday in Advent, to mark our waiting, and the coming. Let the hope of the Advent season, the peace we seek through our relationships with God, and Jesus the Christ, the joy of overcoming our brokenness, and the love to conquer our sometimes sinful hearts, lavish radical hospitality, kindness, and compassion, on all people’s, friend, enemy, stranger, and even…ourselves!

 

Bio: Rev. Nick Kolivas spent many years in the finance and accounting world in New York City, San Francisco, and Honolulu. He holds a Master in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, from New York University, as well as a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary, now called the University of Redlands, Graduate School of Theology. While in seminary, Nick was supported, and greatly encouraged, by DSF, and especially Rev. Dr. Joe Driscoll and Rev. Dr. Christina Hutchins. In 2009, Nick graduated from seminary, and was ordained a reverend in the CC(DOC) CCNC-N Region by Rev. Dr. Ben Bohren at the First Christian Church of Honolulu. Nick currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Forest Hill Christian Church, in San Francisco, alongside Co-Associate Pastor Rev. Gerry Brague, and Senior Pastor Rev. Susan Parsley.

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