Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Isaiah 2:1-5

Advent 1 – Year A

Isaiah 2:1-5

In days to come . . . . In days to come we look for life to be different than it now is. The difference is to be better. That which is still chaotic will become established. All shall be well, all manner of things shall be well. The extraneous parts of life vying for, and thus choking out, attention will find their place within larger pictures and we will live more solidly with one another.

In days to come we expect to see a resolution to life's perplexing questions. That which leads us to conflict will be transformed into consensus. The huge moral question of war will cease to confound us and we will learn peace rather than war. Imagine the transformation of our thinking if we learned stories of peace rather than stories of war. Instead of learning war we would understand it as aberration, its incompatibility with Christian teaching.

But we are not there yet. Wars and rumors of wars continue to abound. Such are convenient control methods to keep us fearful and unthinking. So how do we make a shift that seems so absolutely impossible?

A key phrase is for us to respond to an invitation to "walk in the light of the Lord".

Among other things, this is a call to live the future as if it were already here. In some sense Advent is not waiting time, but practicing time. We have seen a better future and, rather than wait for it or expect G*D to bring it about according to some yet undisclosed plan, we begin to implement our part of it in the present. The way to a better future is not based on some future event, but on what we currently do.

Let us walk in the light of what we posit G*D will be doing – teaching, mediating, transforming implements and attitudes of war into communal feeding and universal health care. Our Advent is proactive waiting. Our waiting is preemptive futuring.

We know where all this is going. Let its breaking news, its Advent, begin now.

While Advent can be waiting, it is also the pre-arrival of the future that we can climb on board. It is this tension between waiting and not waiting, between practice and actuality, between a Coming and a Second Coming, that gives Advent its peculiar energy. To emphasize one side over the other is to deny both.

To focus on a past-future such as Christmas sentimentalizes it to the point of denying its transformative power. To focus on a future-future such as a static utopia devoid of conflict removes a Second Christmas from the realm of our participation in it right now. Our challenge is to work with a present-future birth experience that both births anew and is born anew.

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