In different Advent retreat settings, including the Advent Retreat in Daily Living I’m currently offering at UST, I’ve encouraged retreatants to write their own O Antiphons. We live in a different time and place than when the “O” antiphons were composed. In addition, each of us has our own needs and our own issues with God. Writing our own “O” antiphons gives expression to questions such as: Who is God for me? How do I name God? And what are my deepest needs? How do I need God to come to me.
I came across a suggestion on my friend Neil Willard’s blog that invites a similar kind of activity, this one using poetry. The suggestion originated with Jan Bucher, a psychotherapist and spiritual director, who have a Rector’s Forum at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where my friend Neil is the Rector. I shared it at yesterday’s session of the Advent Retreat at UST, but wanted to highlight it here because I think it is a wonderful suggestion.
The invitation is to write a five-line poem that describes either God or ourselves in relationship to God using this pattern:
one or more words that connect with the first noun.
I love exercises like this, that encourage us to reflect on how we name God and how we see God. By their nature, they help deepen our relationship with God….regardless of whether or not we are great poets.
I’d encourage you to try it. To give you inspiration, take a look at the poem written by St. Stephen’s Associate Rector, Nancy Brantingham, which Neil posted here.