Our world is a (de)formation machine. It’s noisy. Many of us are neurotically busy. Our minds are constantly flooded with information. We find ourselves swinging back and forth between manic activity and trying to numb our minds with social media or streaming services. Most of us are scared to death to be alone with our own thoughts.
The spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence are practices that help us fight this deformation. Solitude is the act of withdrawing from other people in order to be fully present with the Lord. It is not the same thing as isolation or “me-time”, but an intentional act to be in the presence of God. Silence could be thought of as the twin of solitude. Silence is the practice of removing noise and distractions in order to wait on the Lord and yield to his work in our souls. We invite you to focus on this practice with us during the season of Advent. We will provide weekly guidance on how to incorporate these disciplines into your daily rhythms.
Advent Nights are family gatherings in homes each Sunday night of Advent. A very simple resource will be provided to read a scripture, sing a hymn, and pray. It’s a brief time where you can intentionally invite friends, neighbors, and children to participate. We invite you to host one in your home (apartment, dorm room, etc.) or you can be connected to another’s home.
Formation in the image of Jesus for the good of others. This is the goal as we grow and serve at City Church.
At the beginning of the liturgical year, we have a new opportunity to see this formation take place. As we live out the story of Jesus, we invite you to make a daily habit of turning to the Prayer & Practice book, as well as participate in a communal practice and a personal discipline for each season change. A communal practice is a habit that is done in the context of community while a personal discipline is a habit done on your own. We are constantly being [de]formed by the world around us. Step into these intentional rhythms that are designed to form us into the image of Jesus instead.
For the season of Advent, we want to encourage our Growth Groups to consider a few ways you might lean into this season together. These are optional add-ons to your weekly rhythm of time in the Word and in prayer together.
First, we encourage you to gather briefly each Sunday Evening of Advent to read Scripture, sing a hymn, read a prayer, and light that week's Advent candle. An Advent Nights guide will be provided each week. In addition, we invite you to consider encouraging one another in practicing the Spiritual Discipline we have selected for the Season of Advent - Solitude and SIlence. Each week, we will provide a guide that will explain why we would practice this discipline and some practical tips to get started. Consider reading through the guide as a group and encouraging one another along the way. Again, this is optional, but we pray that should you choose to participate it will enrich your Advent Season and help form you into the image of Jesus for the good of others.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES : ADVENT 2023
The God Who Is with Us: 25-Day Devotional for Advent. This resource takes readers through a twenty-five day Advent journey. Daily reflections on gospel truths drawn from Scripture will stir the imagination of the season while also reminding readers that God never abandons his people, but is present with them even in their most difficult seasons. Complete with beautiful, unique, thought-provoking illustrations and space for daily journaling and reflection, The God Who Is with Us provides readers with a meaningful keepsake to prepare them for the challenges of the New Year in light of the beauty of Advent.
The Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts Advent Project. An Advent calendar creates a daily rhythm of anticipatory reflection. Each day of The Advent Project features a Scripture passage, a devotion, a work of visual art, a poem, and a piece of music. The Advent Project will help ground you in the unsurpassable beauty, mystery, and miracle of the Word made flesh.
Christmas Store - Join Building Hope in the City in blessing urban families with the gift of hope and dignity this Christmas. Through your generosity, parents nurturing children within BHITC enrichment initiatives will gain the means to acquire brand-new presents at a fraction of their regular price during our special two-day store event (12/8-12/9). Opportunity awaits for you to give the gift of service, support and donations to the families we serve this holiday season!
Church Planter Christmas Card - Participate on Sunday 12/3 and 12/10 in our annual tradition of sending Christmas cards to church planters. After service, there will be blank cards, pens, and planter information in the lobby. Starting Christian community where none exists can be an isolating and lonely experience. Let's remember our friends in Africa, Scotland, DC and downtown Cle by sending them a note of encouragement!
The Best Gift Ever Given - This book is a 25-day discovery journey that helps your child understand the significance of Advent. Is packed full of Scripture, interactive questions, and a modern take on leading your family deeper into appreciation for God's goodness in a season all about gratitude.
Prayer & Practice Book - A City Church book of common prayer.
The liturgical calendar follows the life of Christ and, in its cyclical rhythm, invites us to enter the movement of his life on a yearly basis. As we observe each season, we can observe Christ. We pray that as you allow the seasons of the church year and anchor your life to the life of Christ, you’ll discover that a fuller joy and vitality marks your days.
Lesslie Newbign writes, “the business of the Church is to tell and to embody a story, the story of God’s mighty acts in creation and redemption and of God’s promises concerning what will be in the end. The Church affirms the truth of this story by celebrating it, interpreting it, and enacting it in the life of the contemporary world.”
Each Sunday we see the arc of God’s story rehearsed and embodied (God is Holy, We are Broken, Jesus Saves Us, Jesus Sends Us)... but how do we “enact it in the contemporary world” of our homes, where we can create culture and habits that form us.
The church calendar, much like Sunday Service, moves us through a story. Specifically the story of Jesus with his incarnation in Advent all the way through the sending of the church in Pentecost.
ADVENT - the future hope of Christ
CHRISTMAS - the joyful birth of Christ
EPIPHANY - the perfect manifestation of Christ
LENT - the temptation and death of Christ
EASTER - the world-changing resurrection of Christ
PENTECOST + ORDINARY TIME - the renewing Spirit of Christ