Reflection by Kathleen McNany, OSB
Emmanuel Monastery, Lutherville, MD
First Sunday of Advent (Year B)
December 3, 2017
Readings: Isaiah 63: 16-17, 19; 64: 2-7 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Mark 13: 33-37
The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon
the likes of which we have never seen before.
It is not possible to keep it from coming, because it will.
That’s just how Advent works.
What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you...
…So, Stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder.
There will be time enough for running.
For rushing. For worrying. For pushing.
For now, stay. Wait.
Something is on the horizon.
It always seems strange to me as we begin the Church year, that we begin with endings and darkness, rather than beginnings and the light of a new day. But then, the rhythm of life is just like that: endings are beginnings, darkness moves to dawn and new light! Today we begin again to enter that sacred rhythm more intentionally: to remember, celebrate and strive to enter the dance of life’s journey that always brings us home to the God who desires so deeply to be with us. Advent’s gift is to teach us once again the movements of this sacred dance, the mystery of Incarnation.
Advent is a time to keep vigil: to watch and wait for all the little pieces of light that creep into the dark places of our days and nights amazing us with the nearness of God for “no ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen any God but you, doing such deeds for those who wait for you.” (Isaiah 64:4)
Advent is a time to open our whole selves to the touch of God: to allow the potter to mold and shape us into something beautiful for “we are the clay and you are the potter. We are all the work of your hands.” (Isaiah 64:8) Advent is a time to learn how to dream as God dreams: for peace, for freedom, for love and respect for all in the human family; “O that you would rend the heavens and come down.”
Advent prods us to imagine big and impossible things and then challenges us to work with all we have to make them real in our time in history. In the coming weeks we will hear the question posed to us, as it once was to John the Baptist: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we wait for another?”
(Matt. 11:3). The Hopi Elders reminded their people that “WE are the ones we have been waiting for.!”
So, what is the invitation of Advent to you this year? How will you keep vigil? How will you join in the sacred dance of the incarnation mystery? How will you allow the touch of God to shape you? How will you learn to dream impossible dreams with God? How will you wait and watch and behold and wonder?
If “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” the way we answer these questions is critical!
A Prayer for the Advent Journey by Jan Richardson
Guardian of the seasons, keeper of every time,
Tune us so to your rhythms that we may know
the occasion for stillness and the moment for action.
May we be so prepared, so aware,
so awakened in our waiting
that when you prompt us into motion,
our hands may be your hands,
And our purposes your own.
Opening quotation and closing prayer: Reprinted by permission of United Church Press from NIGHT VISIONS. Copyright ©1998 by Jan L. Richardson.