Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Advent Question

Our texts for this first Sunday in Advent are Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37. You may read them here.

This Advent, I invite you to consider an important question:

What are you waiting for?

We live in a culture where we try to eliminate waiting as much as possible, but somehow waiting remains one of those things we cannot avoid.

We wait in line for those things we desperately need.
We wait for rides to show up that never come...
...and for flights endlessly delayed by forces beyond our control.
Around here, we wait in a LOT of traffic.
We wait for the phone to ring, bringing good news or bad, a voice we long for or a voice we dread.
We have waited--and continue to wait--for justice long overdue to be done.

We wait on tiptoe for the one we love to show up.

As Christmas approaches again, we continue the difficult work of waiting--for justice, for relationship, for the news we are craving, for dreams that it seems will never be realized. Advent is our season not to avoid this waiting, but to live into it--to take time to dig and assess what it is, really, that we are waiting for--yearning for--pleading for, sometimes with patience, sometimes with desperation.

What are you waiting for?

How are you waiting for it?

And why are we waiting in the first place?

Join us this Advent season as we wonder about and wrestle with these things, seeking among the questions the hope, peace, joy, and love for which we so deeply and desperately long.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

These are excellent questions, and I wonder how much we consider them (and consider our answers).

Though it maybe sounds on the overly poetic side (sorry), I would say I'm waiting on understanding, in all the ways that word can be read. Understanding of/for myself, of/between conlicted groups of people, understanding of the whys, whens, and hows, understanding of God's love - I could go on, but you probably get the gist.

How am I waiting? Hmm...mixed, I'd say. Baited breath, reluctance, anticipation, apathy, impatiently...I experience all of these modes of waiting for understanding.

Why am I waiting? A glib answer would be "because I have to." But maybe that's for the best. The creation story and subsequent disobedience of Adam and Eve can be read as a rush to knowledge before they were ready.

I have two questions in response to Abby's questions (surprise, surprise):

1) What does waiting look like? Is it passive or active? Is seeking and reading and learning and praying, strictly speaking, "waiting"?

2) Though it is a simple example, looking around me, people aren't good at waiting - there's always something in their hands (usually a phone or computer-something) that they use to "fill" their waiting time. Why can't we simply wait? Escapism? A perceived lack of time? A sense of vunerability?

I'll look forward to hearing the sermon and exploring these questions with everyone through Advent. Peace!