Monday, December 11, 2006

Third Sunday of Advent - B

Year B
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126
Luke 1:47-55
I Thess. 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Gaudete Sunday is a moment of joy while waiting. It plays the same role in Advent as Sunday's do in Lent - a reminder of resurrection. In these lections that joy is connected with justice, renewal, and a voice from the wilderness, calling forth renewal through justice.

Given the devastation of many generations it takes a call from an unexpected source to get through to us regarding the source and location of renewal. These forgotten, avoided, and fearful waste places of life lie across and away from our usual religious Jordan boundaries.

A way in which this shows up is found in Psalm 126.

We can look back:
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them."
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

In our present:
The joy of justice revealed comes to the fore, the straight-jacket of the past with all its apparent fatalism has changed streams in ways we could not predict. We rejoice at having come thus far.

In our present:
The recognition that justice has not yet been completed raises its reality. We yet stand in need of not getting trapped in the fatalism that today will be extended into the future, ad infinitum. We rejoice in anticipation of going further.

We can look ahead:
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home
with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

Or, as Paul puts it:
Rejoice always,
pray (be renewed) without ceasing,
give (renewed) thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
for you.

= = = = = = =

where is there not trouble . . .
Darfur, Iraq, Figi . . .
poverty increasing, hunger growing . . .
abusive homes in our community . . .
divided hearts within ourselves . . .
trouble enough for any day,
particularly one after Human Rights Day?

where is there energy to renew
broken dreams, dashed hopes
if not in laughing justice
shouting for joy

revived with a flood of justice
we pass this gift forward
shedding light abroad
testing a wasteland voice

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