Good morning all!
Our Advent begins here…
Today’s Lectionary: Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44
“The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”
— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark, pp. 2,
This year has brought many transitions, much grief and much joy, waiting for the curtain to rise over and over again. This is my first Advent in a new location and I am excited about what may come of it. In this different location, I have really pondered what traditions mean from location to location. It is to the point that many forget that I am only in month 5 of living McMinnville. Even though I feel at home here already, all is still so new…new traditions, new ways to connect to God, new ways to wait for a little child that will change the world.
So I woke up this morning filled with hope and then I looked outside to see grey and dark. At McMinnville Cooperative Ministries we have decided to really dwell in the dark this season. That’s hard to do. We don’t want to dwell too long in dark because we may get depressed. We yearn for light, for hope, for transformation. But we have work to do, don’t we? We will need to wade through exhaustion and hopelessness before we find rest and clarity in this season. In the midst of newness, we must also do our own personal work in the darkness in order to see the light. There is always a shadow if there is light present. This season will be about exploring those areas were we may just find beauty in the darkness.
Jesus knows how to wait and how to talk to us about waiting. He knows the darkness intimately. In Matthew today, he tells us of those who are unprepared when Jesus might appear. He asks us to be ready for Jesus to show up. But what about in the meantime? We are asked to wait…not in a listless fashion but with urgency. It takes a lot of work to wait! In order to wait with preparedness, it takes activity and deep work. Our faith may just lie in the inbetween. It takes work to believe in God’s presence even while we wait. That’s our faith…to believe in God’s presence even in what feels like God’s absence. To believe in the light even in the absence of light…the darkness.
Gracious and loving God, may we start our waiting now. May we look into the darkness and recognize aspects of ourself. May we live as though you are here even if we feel your absence. Amen.