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Poor Worm, Listen

Poor Worm, Listen 150 150 Nicole
Image of an etching by artist William Strutt i...

Image of an etching by artist William Strutt in 1896. Isaiah 11:6,7: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today’s reading for this second week in Advent is Isaiah 41:13-20, and as I listened this morning to the deep, Irish lilt of the reader I had to chuckle at one phrase. The passage begins with God speaking through Isaiah to the people about God’s care for them, that they not be afraid and that God holds them by the hand. Then, it is reiterated with, “Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm, Israel, puny mite.” and, more about how God is their redeemer—to them, as to the poor, to the hungry, the dispossessed. But, Isaiah does not soften the words. Rather, he addresses them precisely as they are so they might finally understand, to recognize the More-Than, more than we can possibly understand—puny mites.


That is precisely how I am feeling as the Advent season moves along—very much the poor worm. This week we mediate on peace, the peace that reaches beyond comprehension. And, I am experiencing anything but peace due to what feels like the crushing expectations that are closing in—so much to do before our Christmas party, pages upon pages to read before my class, and what of Christmas itself?! So, now, I take a few moments to be still, and I thought others who might read this may appreciate doing this with me.


When our family gathers to pray and often at the beginning of our worship gatherings for just church, I use a chime to draw the attention inward, focused toward the heart where the Spirit dwells.


Take a deep, cleansing breath to be ready to listen.


Click the chime—and as it rings, allow it to sort out all the craziness of the day, the week.


Let the sound guide the attention into that place where God wants to meet.


At the moment when the sound ends and the silence begins . . .


That is where we are most ready to hear the voice of Jesus.




Be at peace.





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  • Nicole, I really like this post. The chime and then the silence is God her – within and without us patiently waiting for us to take notice. Thanks. Kim

    • Beautiful. Thank you, Kim. I so appreciate your desire to create spaces for this to happen–I’m so grateful for your presence in our lives!

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About the author


Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (CO, MI).

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