"The Grace and the Impatience to Wait"
"In our secret yearnings we wait for your coming, and in our grinding despair we doubt that you will. In this privileged place we are surrounded by witnesses who yearn more than do we and by those who despair more deeply than do we. Look upon your church and its pastors in this season of hope which runs so quickly to fatigue and this season of yearning which becomes so easily quarrelsome. Give us the grace and the impatience to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes, to the edges of our fingertips. We do not want our several worlds to end. Come in your power and come in your weakness in any case and make all things new. Amen."If we have no doubt that grace is coming to us, if we have no doubt that God is entering--has entered--our deepest darkness, then perhaps we're taking grace too lightly, or perhaps we're taking the depth and severity of our darkness too lightly. It is an impossible thing, that which we anticipate during the Advent season. It is utterly impossible. And if we think it possible, then we're thinking either too little of God or too great of ourselves. And yet, we proclaim in faith, it has happened, it is happening. Christ is coming, God is migrating across the ontological divide between human experience and divine subsistence. It is real and yet it is profoundly unique from anything we've known, different from the things we are accustomed to calling real. The old ways of violence, of oppression, of dehumanization, and all the other ways which operate out of the mechanisms of death, indeed just about all the things we know, have been opposed, they've been sentenced to their demise as God becomes victim with us, takes on our oppression, and gives dignity and validity to our humanity even in the midst of suffering.
-Walter Brueggemann (1994)
The 'worlds' which we have built upon the sandy-ground of the old order of things are sinking--worlds of comfort, of wealth, of pride--and if we chain ourselves to them we may sink with them. But by the grace of God, Jesus comes not only to end our worlds but to break the chains which bind us to them. Let us bring our gold, our frankincense, our myrrh--all the things we think might make us wise and powerful--and may we place them at the feet of weakness, may we give them up for the one who comes to free us from them.
The child in Bethlehem, born of poor parents, born among the lowly, is coming to make all things new. Though it is beyond us but to doubt it, may we rejoice in it. May hope rise in us as grace descends upon us. And may hope give way to charity, to justice, to love.
May God "give us the grace and the impatience to wait" for all things to be made new, as they have been made new in the life and saving work of Jesus Christ, "to the bottom of our toes, to the edges of our fingertips."