Saturday, December 3, 2016

Music of Advent - View the Present Through the Promise

 Week 1, Friday--Isaiah 40:3-5
View the Present Through the Promise by Thomas Troeger, 1994

View the present through the promise,
Christ will come again.
Trust despite the deepening darkness
Christ will come again.
Lift the world above its grieving
through your watching and believing
In the hope past hope’s conceiving
Christ will come again.

There was a time when the religious powers-that-be thought the best course of action was a “scared straight” approach to the divine.  That same idea has repeated over time with faith being the beautiful beginning to relationship with God devolving into religion (in the worst sense of the word) being the ultimate ending of that faith.  I do not mean to say that I believe that churches or denominations are bad, I don’t.  I think ecumenical cooperation among denominations is important to being able to see how vast and diverse God truly is.  I just mean when suddenly those that follow the Christ begin to look like the Pharisees and the empire that crucified Jesus, we have gone astray. 

In this passage of Isaiah, we are told of a solitary voice crying out.  We have often skipped the punctuation though.  It does not say that a voice in the wilderness is crying out, it reads that the message of that voice is that the way of the Lord should be prepared in the wilderness.  This gives us a whole new meaning.  The divine is coming not in the bustling city or the fertile farmlands, but in the desert wilderness.  Barrenness.  Of course!  Where else should God come first, but to the barren places.  

Our faith begins with waiting, hoping, and watching for an appearance of the divine in our world.   We often lose sight of this faith as our waiting is not realized.  Then we turn to law and penalty as opposed to the grace with which we first began.  Holding on to the waiting without becoming discouraged is important, so we must be renewed.  Where do we look for the Lord?  We look in the desert places of our lives and in our world.  Where do we see God at work, while we watch and wait?

This hymn allows us to lift up our voices with confidence proclaiming Christ will come again!  It is in the very darkness that the light shines brightest.  Let us renew our faith, trusting that we are here in this place for such a time as this watching and waiting.  Watching for God’s work in our world.  Waiting for the revelation of the divine in our lives.  Even if we never see what we believe to be a triumphal return, if we watch for the smallest things in the barren places we will not miss the Advent of the divine. 

A voice cries out:
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 

Isaiah 40:3

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