The Work of the People

DEC 07, 2015 - Visual Liturgy

Nativity, Abstract - Stars & Shepherds

Nativity, Abstract

Where do you find yourself today? With all the disaster and death in the world and national news, many of us are really feeling the darkness. Frustration, fear, and pain are thickening the air making it hard for us to see clearly, much less see one another as part God’s beloved ones.

Throughout the season, we have been presenting an abstract expression of the Nativity. It’s “abstract” because the hope is that as you read these pieces you would find yourself in their story.

so once again,

pull in a deep breath

let your body sway
then with as much control as possible
get present.

be here. with God-now.
seek ye first the kingdom of God…
and be blessed.

Stars and Shepherds

stars appear. become visible,
as daylight dwindles and darkness descends,
an emergence, a silent yet grand entrance
announcing themselves—
names of old, time travelers

flickers and blinks proclaiming: “we are.”
maps, witnesses, wishes, constellations—
we may not consult stars for guidance anymore,
but you might just discover yourself beneath one.

at least, that’s what happened with me.
under night’s sky, guiding sheep to settle,
minding stragglers: ease together, bed down
be close, 
keep warm, 
stay safe.

one deep breath of accomplishment 
and I sat beneath twinkling conversations, 
listening to whispered questions of the ages
spoken into the heavens from the wisest sages.

uncertainty is a universe of it’s own.

then, something…
the flock shifted weight,
a ram startled just enough 
peaked my awareness
and then…stars.
          they let down. 
          they came close.
          they were among.

had there ever been anything like this?
such intention of presence. 
overwhelmingly, God.

i reached, scooped them up
tucked them under my arms, 
into the creases of my elbows, 
under my chin—
i scanned the flock, 
counting each curled horn…

i cannot hold them all.

my heart ruptured—
          God, how can I explain this—

it just broke open in the rightest way,
like birth waters make way for a lamb
pain outmeasured by beauty
i expanded, i pushed past, i made room.
i went beyond myself, and in that moment,
was right-sized.

it was all so strange. surreal.

perhaps it was the clear, open night,
or the cool that gathered and huddled the sheep;
maybe it was a deep desire to know something greater…
or God just wanting to be God, showing off a little bit—
but, the next star gave of itself with great purpose,
cutting across the deep blue, 
a Light unlike any other.

i became bigger, under.
i became sturdier, shaken.
i became wiser, without knowing.

it happened right before my eyes!
i experienced it all myself—
          presence allowed for sight,
                    seeing was believing!
                              belief is an act of God!

wonder-filled God, never leave! 

make room, dear ones, welcome God-With.
who turns pastures to pulpits, seekers to seers.
bless us guiding Light, illuminate us from within

we will make room.

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About Altɐr

We believe there is an alternative narrative to the prevalent narrative of scarcity and fear. We believe God is moving and is behind an alternative narrative of abundance and freedom, a narrative in which fear gets defeated and love wins.

We believe God’s narrative requires we altǝr our perspective, that we step, in faith, into God’s upside down reality. In God’s reality we listen for, live and speak God’s upside down voice of faith, hope and love, not striving for ourselves but serving our neighbor. For all these reasons, this is Altǝr.

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