Advent is a time of waiting, no time more so than the final Sunday of Advent when we can finally see the light on the horizon. And no year in my admittedly short memory of Advent seems like so painful a wait, so desperate a time to be on the threshold of a new year. I wonder what will be different on the other side of the horizon.
The truth is, we will never know. The horizon lies ever in the distance, the thing to which we move, but never reach. Like every year, Jesus will be born; Jesus will die and rise again; Jesus will ascend and return in judgment. We will mark all of it with laughter and tears, healing and heartbreak. And then we’ll do it again.
The truth is, we are always waiting. Waiting for justice. Waiting for love. Waiting for peace. Waiting for God to come into the world.
Tragic events like Sandy Hook always bring into sharp relief questions about the source of evil and the nature of God. Where is God in all this? How does God get wherever God is? Many commentators have worked this angle, for better or worse. I don’t really want to add myself to either side, but I think there’s a reason we enter into this cycle of the Christian liturgical calendar. We cling as desperately to our faith in God’s ever-present love and support as we cling to our hope in God’s eventual triumph. We separate out bits of that at times to mark it, but we really experience it all at once, all the time. That is why, as the Advent tradition reminds us, we wait and that is why, as Advent Conspiracy reminds us, we must “Love All.” We are always waiting and longing and hoping, stuck on the threshold of what has been and what might be. If we can’t hold onto each other, nurture the image of God in every Other One – with apologies to Rachel Held Evans – God does not come into the world. Instead, God is silenced, beaten back, and the forces of evil triumph again.
Like Mary, we have to say yes to God. We have to nurture the Divine, give it a place to gestate and to emerge, bodily, into the world. If we can’t do that, we are indeed condemned to the shadows and dawn will never break.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we talk about seeing the image of God in ourselves and in others so that we can live together in the space between Faith and Hope, the now of Love.
Grace and Peace,