Friday, 30 November 2018

Advent 1: The Dissonance of Advent: Ian Green

Luke 21.25-35Advent literally means ‘waiting’.  It isn’t arrival, that’s Christmas!  Advent is about travelling, and sometimes that means walking through the darkness with hope.

I suspect all of us like to think of faith as a noun.  It’s a thing!  Something we have.  We might even describe someone as a person of faith, as if they possess it.  Yet, maybe faith is more like a verb.  It’s something we must practice, something we have to live out and do, a positive and determined act of the will.

Advent calls us to practice our faith even in the times of waiting.

There is, how can we put it, a certain kind of ‘dissonance’ in Advent.  It’s not really a settled place to be.

In the bible story Mary has the honour of bearing Jesus even as she is viewed suspiciously in dishonour by those around her.  She and Joseph travel to Bethlehem in a state of chaos and fragility just at a time when she most needed calmness and security.

In the lectionary reading set for today from Luke there is that sense of waiting for the Kingdom.  It’s coming – as sure as the fig tree coming into bud shows the signs of approaching summer.  Yet in another sense it’s already here – God’s kingly reign among us is paradoxically both present and future.

It’s been suggested therefore that Advent is, in fact, a very good time to ‘name the gaps’ in our lives.  Like the gap between who I am and who I’d love to be, the gap between the society we live in and the society we long for.  And after the naming, to consciously acknowledge that God moves in those gaps.  That’s where his love and light are at work.  God is in the gaps and becomes a bridge between what we are and what we hope for.

So, as I write this on the very last day of November, 25 days to go and counting!  But...don't rush into Christmas, linger in the dissonance of Advent and see what happens.