Dear Sisters and Brothers –
Earlier today, I had an at-once delightful and uncomfortable conversation with a parishioner who challenged me on my pastoral letter from last week: “I was unsettled by what you said. Advent isn’t that hard. All we need is five minutes of good focus time. Go into a dark room, light, a candle, focus on the candle, and hold up to God our fears and our hopes. That’s it. That’s Advent.”
So much in me wants to rebut and explain and argue. But this is the season of angels, and perhaps she’s one, breaking into my all-important busyness, delivering a message, and offering a bit of light. To be on the safe side, I’m going to go with the angel thing and give her suggestion a try. I’m telling you this because maybe the message is for you, too.
I found this a few hours after that conversation by one of my favorites, Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a United Methodist minister. So, just in case that meeting the angel and discovering this poem on the same day are not a coincidence, I’m sharing this with you, as well.
I know we are destroying your planet,
brutalizing children at the border,
I don't need to know the future,
nor even that you know the future,
don't need to be able to imagine how
in the world
a righteous branch might spring up
and save us.
I only need to know you are here,
and in the root of the trees even now
letting their last leaves go
you are here,
your bud already swelling,
ready for the cold,
you are here, your light already turning,
in the dust and dark and final confusion,
in the sharp rocks and edges of the last road,
your child already coming,
among us, maybe even within us,
ready for the risk,
his beautiful little face lifting us into a different life,
your arms already sweeping us up.
and a bud ripens.
Oremus pro invicem,