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Affirmation of faith for Advent (responsive litany)

By faith, Mary let go of fear, and engendered a mothering God

This faith may lead us through labyrinths of doubt, laughing hysterically, shouting in protest, lurching in denial, finally making it to our tūrangawaewae [1]

By faith, Joseph took comfort from a dream, embracing complex, reconstituted, extended family relationships

This faith might reshape our preconceptions, birthing new ways of being whānau [2]

By faith, wise ones followed the path of a new star to a strange land, to an undistinguished stable.

This faith might sometimes lead us down unpaved tracks, with people we don’t recognise, to destinations we didn’t plan.

Faith is the opposite of belief: a bright-side-up coin whose shadow-side is hope.

Faith is relationship and way of life:
caring for orphans and widows, casting out demons of self-doubt and despair, and occasionally raising the dead.

This is our faith: Living as if we matter.

Living with uncertainty yet acting with confidence, walking the star-led spiral to the heart of everything
God in us, now—and here.

(c) bronwyn angela white (2013), wellington, new zealand

Glossary – footnotes: from Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

[1] Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.

[2] Whānau is often translated as ‘family’, but its meaning is more complex. It includes physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions and is based on whakapapa . Whānau can be multi-layered, flexible and dynamic. Whānau is based on a Māori and a tribal world view. It is through the whānau that values, histories and traditions from the ancestors are adapted for the contemporary world.

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