The Advent season is our waiting time. As we look forward to contemplating and studying our new directional statement over the next six years, I take one last look at the direction that has led us for these past five years and that has been the guide for our work in Shalom.
This season, we both anticipate and remember Jesus’ coming into our divided world. The crises then were different from the ones we face today. Nevertheless, he didn’t just come for those times; he came for all times. It is because we believe this that we enter once more into the mystery of Emmanuel, “God with us.”
Even though it comes last in Love Cannot Wait, we know that “grounding who we are and all we do in the love of the Triune God” must be where we both begin and end. This time of Advent, the time of waiting, is our “grounding” time.
The quote at the beginning of this article, which I found in Bread of Tomorrow: Prayers for the Church Year, caught my attention because of its similarity to our Chapter prayer based on the words of Blessed M. Theresa. All that we hope to do – to embrace dialogue as a way of life, to live more simply, to intensify our efforts to witness to unity, to direct our resources and ministries toward education that transforms – all of it becomes our mission in a time of contemplation and quiet waiting for God to reveal God’s self to us.
The readings for the Sundays in Advent are a call to us about our call. “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Is. 40:3) How are we preparing the way? What is it we can do to create a path for God in our world? We believe our call to dialogue is the beginning. Our listening to God gives us the words we need to begin the dialogue. In Psalm 85, we hear, “I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.” How can we proclaim peace?
Sometimes it is our actions, our attitudes, our approach to people that are more important than words. That is our witness to unity in a divided world, in addition to holding all in common.
We also hear the words of Jesus’ mission (and ours as well) on the third Sunday of Advent. “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.” (Is 61:1-2) And so we struggle to eliminate the root causes of injustice. And we work toward that day when all will be one in Christ.
Although this is the season of “waiting”, we still understand that LOVE CANNOT WAIT. Blessings of the season!