Advent is almost here. As always, she sends us signs from the sun, the moon, the rising seas and the leafless fig tree. This season, she is speaking to me through a cough that won’t give up. The sinus pressure adds insult to injury. I am now convinced that these chronic symptoms stem from my inability to just say “no.” As it turns out, I have long been addicted to “becoming all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some” (I Cor 9:22). I share the codependent affliction of the apostle who confessed that his life was unmanageable too:
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7:15).
The First Sunday of Advent, Year C
December 2, 2018
By The Rev. Marilyn Zehr
Luke 21: 25-36
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Luke 21:31
The Kin-dom of God is near. It visits in the night like the spirit presence of the white-tailed deer. I go out early to search for fresh prints in the previous night’s early snows. Like the kin-dom of God, the deer are on the move. It’s rutting season. Their tracks tell me that the does and last year’s fawns move in groups. The lone tracks that cross these are the bucks seeking mates. I am not yet skilled or scent sensitive enough to notice the signs the bucks leave on branches to attract the does but I know it is so. When they mate the doe and buck “enact a ritual of motion, touch, sound and scent before coming together.” (p. 14, All Creation Waits, by Gail Boss and illust. by David G. Klein, 2016) All is now pregnant possibility unfolding just beyond my vision in the night. All I see of their restless urgency are the tracks in the morning snow.
During Advent many years ago, I preached in the morning chapel service at a Pennsylvania college. The chaplain’s five-year-old son, Kyle, had memorized the Gospel of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, and he was eager to recite it at lunch. He was flawless until he got to the part about the angels announcing to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace!” Forgetting the last phrase, Kyle concentrated for a few moments. Then he confidently launched in again, enthusiastically attributing these words to the hovering heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest…and I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!” Continue reading “Bathed in the Warmth of Stories”→
For the last two weeks, Isaac has asked me to read the same story every night- The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter. It is the story of Alia Muhammad Baker who saved all the books from her library just before the library was burned to the ground during the US bombing of the Iraq War. It ends with her dreaming of peace from her home filled with books from floor to ceiling. Each night, Isaac asks what happened to Alia? What happened to the books? We finally looked it up and they re-built the library and she is the librarian again with all the books and stories she held safe from our mass destruction. Continue reading “Rebels and Saints”→
this advent i need a woman’s space.
a dark space.
a silent space.
somehow i’ve got to find my way
back to the womb of my own life.
this advent i need shawls and songs.
the sacramentals of ceramic mugs
and solitary candles
standing like sentries
throwing shadows on the darkened walls
of my winter heart. Continue reading “Advent Song”→
My mom died New Year’s Eve when I was 19. We knew it was coming so that Advent as we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” each night before dinner, I paid attention to the voices. I knew them so intimately- the tones and harmonies that our four voices made together. It was the sound of home and I ached to imagine how our singing would change with just three voices. So each night I zeroed in on the sound of my mom’s voice- desperate to not let it be forgotten. Memorizing deep within, in hopes that whenever I sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” that I would always hear her voice within it.