2nd Sunday of Advent
AUGH…the readings…the poetry…the lush imagery and language… Can you hear my heart both race and sigh??
In a way it reminds me of a multi-media art event I went to a week or two ago—there was art, spoken word, and cello/piano/organ music…all happening at once— So many things all coming together to create a larger experiential whole…
Think about that with these readings!
Wisdom, counsel, knowledge, fear, justice, faithfulness, wolves and lambs, leopards and goats, cows and bears, children and snakes, endurance, encouragement, welcome, glory, praise…
John in the desert walking around in camel hair and leather, eating locusts and honey, preaching preparation and repentance, speaking of good trees and bad trees, worthiness, sandals, what has been, what is to come, wheat, chaff, fire and water.
So much going on all at once, it is nearly paralyzing…or deafening—because sometimes I think now matter how beautiful the poetry and ultimately the message, all of this all together makes it hard to know where to look—or to listen… To say nothing of coming up with something coherent to say…which is why I led with AUGH!
And then I looked again at Romans…
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to be in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Harmony…a third or “other” sound produced when two or more notes come together in a favorable, pleasing way.
What if it wasn’t about which one of these images do I listen to, attend to, focus on…and more about listening to what happens when they all come together?
And what if that whole…the everything…the contrasts and the cohesion…is what actually makes the discernibly beautiful?
When all of that comes together, it’s the sound as a Whole, that is the focus…and yet the individual pieces aren’t lost within that any more than a brick is lost in a building full of them.
But it is US called to harmony in Romans… Harmony—a coming together of different notes for something greater than individual voice—yet That greater isn’t possible without individual, different, voice, thought, opinion, perspective…. We are called to listen to each other, to see how it all fits…even to adjust, for the sake of that harmony…but not to discard unique perspectives, lest it be monotone…
There is a word in Spanish that I just love…it is a word used to describe a whole or a set…Conjunto—literally ‘with togetherness.’ We are called by Paul to live as a conjunto and with one voice, glorify God.
Imagine for just a moment the sound of that one voice… the harmony of people actually listening to each other instead of bombing, bullying, or trying to talk over each other; listening instead of stifling the voices we don’t want to hear; creating space instead of excluding, seeking out other perspectives with curiosity while not being afraid to offer our own… Think about the sound that harmony would make…
I can’t help but wonder if in the midst of Advent that comes each year, in the whole messy midst of what is real and true in it this world…whether that sound of harmony wouldn’t sound something like a too cold family in Ukraine, baby wailing, a mother weeping, an Out of the Cold worker in a homeless encampment, cattle huffelling, a father pacing, uncertainty coming, a world in need and people doing something about that need, fear rising, love rising, and the world changing, forever…Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, peace….Peace…Peace.