First Trinity Advent 2014 Theme:
When Pain of the World Surrounds Us
Advent 1 - In pain and despair, healing and hope
Advent 2 - In fear and need, love and justice
Advent 3 - In emptiness and void, God’s Spirit
Advent 4 - In struggle and confinement, grace and change
“We see with fear and trembling our aching world in need,
confessing to each other our wastefulness and greed.
May we with steadfast caring the hungry children feed.
We are called to follow Jesus and let God's justice flow through us.”
-Jim Strathdee, When Pain of the World Surrounds Us
The Holy Gospel, according to St. Mark, the first chapter:
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ,
the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
And people from the whole Judean countryside
and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him,
and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist,
and he ate locusts and wild honey.
"The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me;
I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
This liturgical year
is the year of Mark.
Unlike Matthew and Luke,
who begin their “Gospels,”
their “Good News,”
their “Glad tidings,”
with fantastic, poetic, dramatic,
even musical accounts of the beginning of Jesus’ life,
with stories of angels and magi,
shepherds and stars,
deviant “wise-men,” and tyrannical, murderous kings…
Unlike the gospelers who include
prompting us to imagine Jesus’ bloodline,
sure to note notorious sinners,
women and men,
and even King David and Adam and Eve…
who begins his Gospel
with the Beginning,
setting Jesus’ life in relation to the creation of the entire cosmos,
“In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with God and the word was God…”
Unlike John, who names Jesus “The Word,”
and calls Jesus, with God,
Mark begins his Gospel,
of the Good News
of the God.
Mark begins with the beginning.
Of Good news.
John. The Baptist—the baptizer. The one “crying out.”
The one in the wilderness.
The voice speaking into the chaos,
the deserted places.
Like the Word at the day of Creation,
calling forth Life from Chaos,
moving over the face of the Deep.
in the wilderness,
the one saying something,
with a word,
even if it wasn’t the right word,
even if it was different from what people expected,
even if it was offensive, or clumsy,
or, still forming, really...
even if it was far from what the people came out to hear,
or to see,
for whatever reason they came all the way out to
to the deserted places, anyway.
For whatever reason they chose to stare
into the void.
John had a word. John proclaimed.
calling fervently for change,
for the world, the universe,
the sun and the moon and the stars
and the principalities
hoping against hope,
calling out in the wilderness.
For the beginning of all things.
For the end of all things.
For the birth and consummation and completion of all things.
John, calling out,
in the chaos,
to the face of the deep,
into the void,
for the haves and have nots,
to privileged and oppressed,
mountains, and valleys,
the uneven and rough,
the grass that withers and flowers that fade,
amidst injustice, death, separation,
race and class and orientation
in the Wilderness
into the face of the void
calling out for a Word that
doesn’t die, that doesn't kill
that doesn't pass away...
a Word that is more powerful,
A Word in flesh,
A word in bodies...
A Word in solidarity
promised to Resurrect.
A breath, blowing over the chaos,
calling into the face of the Deep.
Shouting for Metanoia.
Crying out in the deserted places.
For the Beginning.
The Beginning of the Good News.
Of the God.
I wonder how God is calling you to change.
I wonder what God hopes for the world.
I wonder how God is calling you.