I just finished writing worship for Sunday.
Malls and gas stations and near every other establishment on earth are pumping Christmas Carols into the air.
In the church, we are marking Advent. It is a time of waiting. It is not yet Christmas, so we practice the pain of waiting.
It is the musical waiting that makes it hard to write worship this time of year. I want to break out the songs that so need to be sung: Songs about joy and love and glorias ringing from the choirs of angels.
I want that.
Instead, we wait.
Scripture from Matthew on this coming Sunday features John the Baptist calling people to change their hearts and lives in order to live God’s vision of grace.
Isaiah speaks of the peaceable kingdom and a world in which those who have long been enemies will find harmony.
Paul prays that the God of hope will fill the new followers of Jesus with joy and peace.
Harmony, heart shift, joy and peace.
Perhaps this time of waiting isn’t so bad, after all.
In church on Sunday we sang words that felt like prayer and plea:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Surely in these days we long to be reminded that Emmanuel is: God is with us.
We are freshly up from Thanksgiving tables. We read newspapers and wonder about who and how we are in this world. We think about how we will ready our hearts for the big hurrah that is Christmas. There is no snow nor freeze in the northland and it makes for a sense of wobble in these days of Advent. There are many things that command our attention and worry our beings and the prayer goes up:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
It’s a worthy prayer.
Perhaps these days of Advent might be a noticing and naming of how we live “God with us” in the now.
Grace is so real.
Perhaps these Advent days of readying ourselves might be spent sniffing the wind for hope.
The Word became flesh, and flesh it remains.
Where is it you experience Emmanuel, God with you?
How will you call it home?
Today at church we celebrated All Saint’s Day.
We lit forty candles symbolizing those from our congregation who died during the year. We named them, and we heard the vibrations of their names echoed in the sound of a bell tolled after each name.
In my mother’s church, her name was read. Miles away from that place, the vibration of her heart was sounding in my own.
Later in the day I scrambled to ready myself for a church gathering. I threw on a much-mother-mended sweater bought on the Isle of Skye. I have worn it with gratitude for nearly twenty years. Mom kept it healthy with her knitting and mending genius.
Today as I put it on I noticed a hole in the elbow and it hit me that my mother can’t fix it.
Mom can’t fix it.
This hole in my sweater has unraveled me.