Advent 1 – Year A
To be ready for the unexpected runs the danger of readiness fatigue.
To have a clear vision of what needs to be runs the danger of not being ready for a different future and missing it when it is available.
Both of these dangerous approaches to Advent are needed and both raise a larger danger of setting one against the other in a battle to an unnecessary death. There may be a third way that brings out the best of both. The Psalmist sums up this non-doctrinal formula relationally – "I will seek your good."
The tendency we have in today's world of silent reading is for us to read the Matthew and Isaiah passages as individuals. Strikingly, when Matthew speaks to us of being ready he uses an irregular plural of "you" and Isaiah speaks of the whole house of Jacob as walking together in light. To be progressive in today's world almost requires an ear for the corporate, the community, and not the individual. In time to come this will probably become as perverted as an overblown individualism is today and progressives will be those holding up the importance of a depth of psyche. But, for now, listen first for where the community might be better held together. This is our great need today – an irregular plural.
Our readiness for the future and our walking a better way in today's light can both be assisted with a reminder that we only get to that better future together. This requires us to seek the good of another in order for either and both of us to progress toward a time of wholeness, of peace.
Imaging Jerusalem as "a place of wholeness" we find it appropriate that those who would pray for peace, as a significant part of wholeness, would prosper, would not learn war anymore, would be ready for an unexpected experience of community beyond any arbitrary decision resulting in some taken and some left behind.
Then we run again into the tension and/or balance of Advent.
For the sake of others I will say, "Peace be within you."
For the sake of G*D "I will seek your good."
May peace be within G*D's place and may we seek the good of others. In these two we find all the law and prophets. In these two we find our past-future and our future-future come together in a very present-future that is quite manageable. We can bless G*D and bless one another – a bit now, a bit more later, and, eventually, with an exclamation point! or three!!!