We have a different sort of offering for you today. Parker Palmer is an author, educator and activist who lives in Wisconsin and has written several books about vocation and listening for God’s spirit in one’s life. In this video, he spends five minutes exploring the idea and reality of what he calls “the risk of Incarnation,” which he describes both as one of the most important words in the Christian tradition and also one of the most important gifts of that tradition in his own life. Click on the picture below to access the video:
We invite you to set aside five minutes to watch and listen as Palmer unpacks a concept so often addressed and discussed during the season of Advent. We hope it will be helpful to use as a starting point for your own meditation around what meanings this idea might hold for you today. There is plenty to consider in this short video, so we’ve included a few preliminary prompts for your reflections.
- Parker Palmer suggests that in his experience, words actually become disconnected or disembodied from the world around. Has there been a time for you when a spiritual concept or word has become broken away from the reality of life?
- Why might Palmer call incarnation a risk that God takes by actually showing up in the flesh? When have you taken a risk by embodying your values/beliefs/humanity?
- Are there parts of you that want to “come out of hiding” and be incarnated in the world at this time? How can you nurture and tend to those parts?
- At the end of the video, Palmer shares that he was drawn to the Christmas story as a young child, even though he couldn’t explain what the connection was about. Where in your life have you been drawn toward or felt connected to something that you couldn’t quite explain or understand?
As we enter the final few days and hours of this Advent season, Parker Palmer’s words remind us that the story of the incarnation is a story deeply about our own call to live fully in this time and space, and to allow ourselves to be “born again and again in the shape” of our own true selves. It’s our hope that this brief reflection will open new ways of considering the idea of incarnation in your own life.
NOTE: This video was originally published on www.theworkofthepeople.com – an online resource that produces and publishes multimedia offerings such as this from a wide variety of speakers, theologians, writers, educators and spiritual leaders. If you have not done so yet, it’s a fantastic website and worth a look.