We Are All Partial Images Coming Into Focus
This first week of Advent is traditionally a week spent reflecting on Hope. More specifically, it's a week spent reflecting on how Hope has come into the world through the arrival of the Christ.
But even during this season of expectation and hope, it can prove to be difficult to keep your chin up.
It's easy to become jaded when you spend any length of time poring over the latest news. It feels like each day is filled with new levels of drama and with even more anxiety-inducing stories.
This morning, I got to thinking about how in spite of all the things I say that I believe about the arrival of the Messiah, I still struggle at times to believe that things are getting any better. In response to these troubling thoughts, I penned this short prayer/poem:
God, it's Advent once again.
We have prayed for and eagerly awaited change and transformation.
But it seems like nothing has happened.
It feels like the same-old/same-old.
Earthquakes. Fires. Floods.
War. Anger. Politicians. What's different?
Will we finally see something new this year?
I'll keep praying and longing and praying and longing.
You know I'm not alone, right?
Please at least give me that. I can't be the only one
Who still wants to give Hope a fighting chance
And who still believes the Child will save us all.
The elders of our church recently met with members of our latest confirmation class to listen to their statements of faith, and examine them before voting on receiving them into full membership.
One of the young women shared her statement and revealed that there were times in her life when she wondered whether God was there, and further whether God existed at all. She then went on to say that she was hanging on to faith anyway. She couldn't let it go.
I can't tell you how much that meant to me to hear. It reminded me of a quote by Richard Rohr:
We are all partial images slowly coming into focus, as long as we allow and filter the Light and Love of God, which longs to shine through us--as us!
I would argue that not only are we all partial images but that the pieces of evidence of how world-changing hope is breaking into this world are also partial images coming more and more into focus.
Even as we spend this season in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, and the transformation of the world... we can rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is already here, already at work, just as he has been since that first season of expectation.
And the signs of a better world---a more just, kind, beautiful and good world--are coming into focus more clearly all around us, in us and through us. Hope springs eternal, because it is eternal, and is embodied in Jesus himself.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.