Malachi 3:1-4; Canticle 4; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6
THE REV. CARISSA BALDWIN-MCGINNIS
People of Advent!
People of an Onset!
People in Waiting!
Our job is this.
It is suspense.
It is only suspense.
And I dare say we likely know little of how to go about it.
When was the last time we upheld great expectation?
When last were we privileged to await something marvelous?
When had we the time to await any thing?
How long since we deferred a single action or gratification?
How many years since we looked out, just looked out?
When did we last feel our desire?
When last did we give Hope the chance to breathe?
These are questions for a people said to be in waiting. These questions are for the children of prophets in a modern, post-modern, east vs. west, Islam vs. Christianity, the people vs. the environment, the integrated vs. the isolated, Shia vs. Sunni, Republican vs. Democrat, capital vs. labor, warming, global culture in which:
We people of faith crave our senses as we overdrive our cognition.
We wish to anticipate anything, because we seem often forced to respond to everything.
We would likely trade food and drink for time to simply look at a baby, a river, even a rock,
given that all our days and into our nights we study primarily highways, bus stops, electronics screens and frozen foods.
We want to recollect our children, as scripture says.
We want to nurse our parents.
We people of faith want desperately to gather at the word of the Holy One.
We desire to embody suspense as the answer to everything, yet the weapons and images of apocalypse overwhelm us.
How then to anticipate new life?
We want to await you, Lord. We want to await you.
We want to expect you, O Great One, and to prepare non-anxiously for your arrival without needing you to text us about your every stop and updated arrival time. We want to receive you anew just as for the first time and without presuming to tell you who you are.
We understand that our job is suspense, but to undertake this goes against everything we know and may ask more of us than we can possibly imagine.
So, help us, Great Creator. Empower us to discard our sorrow and to don your beauty. Assist us in setting the dark of winter in lights of promise and mercy. Even the score between violence and splendor. Refresh us with your peace. Relieve us of our fears.
Where there is infertility, may we grow family.
Where there is abandonment, let us make claims to one another.
Where there is violation, lead us to wholeness.
If there is failure, show us a new start.
We, O God, sit in your church endangered, silly and in need of you. Help us to feel you are on your way. Help us to wait and to watch and to forget that we think we know anything about who you are.