Waiting with Hope

First Week of Advent (2018)

Advent emphasizes themes of BEING ALERT, WAITING, and HOPE. How hard we find it to wait – in slow-moving traffic, in lines at the bank or grocery store, for an anticipated check in the mail. Here’s what I have been pondering during this first week of Advent.

We read in Luke’s Gospel:

Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place. (Luke 21:36)

There are so many “end-time” signs appearing now: extreme weather, fires, shooting, persecution. Yet, a message of hope: Our God will be there to save us. God will keep us safe. But we must do our part in working for justice and peace. First, I must BE ALERT. I find it painful to watch the news. I want to escape it altogether. However, I need to be alert. Maybe it’s time to read newspapers again . . . or get in the habit of reading the New York Times online.

The prophet Isaiah tells us:

It will be said on that day: Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited. (Isaiah 26:9)

Benedictine Sr. Maria Boulding comments about WAITING: It may sometimes be more fruitful in the end if we live with a lingering question, and grow slowly toward wisdom, than if we find a quick answer partly dictated by our own desires. The waiting changes us, schools us, teaches us to know God.

And yet, where is the balance between “waiting in hope” and doing our part to bring about peace and justice in a troubled world?

Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. (Isaiah 26:2)

Men, women, and children from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are at our doors. They are the faith-filled, hope-filled ones, escaping violence and poverty to give their families a chance to survive – not even thrive, just survive. Yet we, the U. S. who think of ourselves as a righteous nation, will not open our doors. In fact, we are building higher walls. What is my role in all this? We worry about building our own homes on rock (Matthew 7:24), sturdy and huge, but we neglect the foundation of our hearts and faith. We show little concern that others lack adequate shelter.

Later in the week, we read in Isaiah:

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off. (Isaiah 29:19-20)

Isaiah promises that the meek and needy will be heard and protected, and that tyrants will be no more. I want to believe that this will be the case at the U.S. southern border. I lack patience. I want to believe that God will send faith-filled people (me, included?) to assist all those fleeing from violence. Do I believe that God can protect vulnerable people? Will I BE ALERT, WAIT with HOPE, and take action when and where an opportunity presents itself?

Carey Landry composed an Advent hymn that speaks to waiting in hope. Maranatha can be translated as “Come, Lord!”

Hope (2012)

Waiting in Silence (2002)

Waiting in silence, waiting in hope;
we are your people, we long for you, Lord.
God ever with us, Emmanuel,
Come, Lord Jesus, Maranatha!

Waiting in silence, waiting in hope;
we are your people, we trust in your love.
O Sun of Justice, true Prince of Peace,
Come with your justice, Lord, Maranatha!

Waiting in silence, waiting in hope;
we are your people, Lord, we seek your truth.
Wisdom Incarnate, teach us your way;
Show us the path of life, Maranatha!

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