Liturgy is where we publicly explore the multi-faceted and creative faith expressions of worship within the PAAC community. Here, we will have everything from theological musings and visual/mixed-media artist reflections, to poetry and fiction stories to ponder, dream, and reimagine how we can communally respond to the world around us.
Advent artwork by Aya Sato
Growing up in a non-denominational conservative immigrant church, Advent was not a familiar concept or practice. It was not until I entered university, and participated in religious activities with a denomination that incorporated more liturgical elements, that I learned some Christians would spend an extended period of time before December 25 to reflect on the coming of Christ. It was easy to fold Advent into my personal faith tradition during that time because it made sense for me – I liked the practices of reflection, anticipation, and seeing hope during a tumultuous time.
Join Seattle PAAC as we attempt to create a new way to be Church together. For the month of December, we are putting together a weekly online expression of church where we journey together through the different themes of Advent. Join us in co-creating meaningful experiences of our faith tradition.
“She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,” cried the young student, “but in all my garden there is no red rose.”*
Series of poems by Mickey Beatima.
“You don’t matter.”
These are the lies that I’ve internalized, that I’ve woven into every fiber of my being. I’m trying to untangle them now, and it’s a strange process. For the past few months, this has been my prayer.
We all have each had transcendent experiences of nature. Hiking meandering brown brushstrokes of dirt trails in the Redwood Forest walled by towering trunks of timber like giant pencils growing from the ground. Sights of geological phenomena like the lava red craters of the Grand Canyon or the steel blue rises of the Grand Tetons with bleached white toupees. Maybe like us, you have also been in the midst of preternatural landscapes that could only be matched by our childhood dreams of heaven. In those moments, we take a breath. A sigh of relief. It is as if creation talks to us in its sights and sounds, smells and textures. Creation affects us in its commanding equilibrium, grounding our souls to the rhythms and reverberations of peace. But it’s not the only way it communicates.
For the purposes of dissertation research, I spent the month of July in Hong Kong. In between the interviews, field observations, and analytical writing was, of course, a time of personal reflection on the very themes I pondered in my previous post: questions of tradition and personal history, of belonging and difference, of life trajectories disrupted by a fiercely independent God that cannot be defined or tamed and yet whose presence is ever familiar and compassionate.
Editor’s Note: This piece is sourced from the author’s sermon, Honor Your Mother and Father at Forefront Brooklyn on June 30, 2019.
Jesus was calling his disciples to turn from everything they’ve ever known about who belongs and who doesn’t, and that meant calling people who were enemies of the Israelites, brother, sister and sibling. It would mean showing deep and enduring love to them, and ministering to them – even if it meant breaking the religious law of working on the Sabbath. It would mean restoring shalom with them and moving towards the wholeness of humanity.
The Progressive Asian American Christians (PAAC) community is full of people who come from all walks of life, particularly the creative. After hearing that PAAC community member Yiann had recently released an EP, we reached out to them for an interview with us to learn more about their journey into writing and performing music, and how they are creating new liturgies for those who want to connect with faith through the musical form.