I hope you were able to attend the Hanging of the Greens worship service yesterday. My hat is off to all who planned this service and participated in it, especially Alicia Taylor. I needed a worship service full of ritual, hymns, and scripture lessons to usher in the season of Advent. During the service, Alicia reminded us that the meaning of Advent in the Latin is coming. Over the next four Sundays, we will wait with expectant hearts for the coming of the Prince of Peace.
I treasured the peace that this service brought to me. My mind contrasted how the advent themes of coming, light, peace, and justice assured my soul that God is at work in our world. Having watched a plethora of news coverage on the verdict in Ferguson, Missouri and the riots, vandalism, and looting that occurred over several nights I needed a different type of drama.
I can't help but think that our world has these advent themes upside down. At Ferguson, the lights in the darkness were television lights and in my humble opinion, they welcomed more sin and confusion than they illuminated the highway in the wilderness that the prophet Isaiah spoke of in chapter 40. The light of the night seemed corrupted in the name of justice in order to increase viewership and sell commercials. In effect, the sin of greed and bearing false witness ruled the night rather than ushering in the rule of the one called Wonderful Counselor. This is not the advent drama foretold in scripture.
Come Lord Jesus!
I needed to hear the words of Isaiah anew, ancient words which breathed hope into my wearied soul.
"The people walking in the darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders."
Our service concluded with a litany of hope. The refrain of the people went as follows:
"Lord, let your light shine upon us, that our light might shine before all people and our hearts be filled with hope."
During worship the drama of advent was back in order. It's good to know our worship gets it right!
Prayer for Today
Come Lord Jesus, come into our lives. Shine your light into the darkest recesses of our hearts so that we may experience your healing and your truth. Shine your light into the darkness of our world, so that your love and justice will usher in your new creation promised through Christ our Lord. Amen.