Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 85 which, sprinkled heavily with “will”s and “shall”s, is written almost completely in the future tense.
This psalm, though filled with hope, is italicized with a sense of “then, but not just yet”. In the midst of a long waiting, it fuels our patience with words like “near”:
I will hear what God proclaims;Psalm 85: 9-10
the LORD— who proclaims peace to the people.
Near indeed is salvation to those who are awed by the Lord,
glory dwelling in our land.
Oh, my! Do we know how that long patience feels?
The feeling recalls my Dad’s answer on any long journey when I repeatedly queried, “Are we there yet.”
The whole world shares a similar feeling right now. As we see the promise of a vaccine rising on the horizon, we still live in the worry and isolation of this pandemic. Are we safe yet?
Not yet. But near.
Not now. But soon.
Let us not miss the practical lessons nor the spiritual ones that emerge as we read the psalmist’s ancient words in our current stressful times.
The practical lessons for our situation are clear:
- a vaccine is near
- be patient, prepare
- mask up
- wash hands
- stay home if possible
- respect your bubble and everyone else’s
Some of the spiritual inspirations might be these.
- Amazing Grace is always near to us
- be patient, prepare
- learn from your solitude
- clear your spirit of any impediments to grace
- find your home in God’s Presence
- rest in that Presence until you are renewed
The psalm assures us that God is with us; that the Sacred Presence will appear as we open our eyes to God’s justice and mercy.
The LORD will give us benefits;Psalm 85: 13-14
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before the Lord
and prepare the way of God’s steps.
Isaiah and Mark direct our hearts to the voice of the prophet John the Baptist who proclaims, “Prepare a way for the Lord!” That’s how near God is! Just on the other side of our soul’s expectation.
In our second reading, Peter reminds us of how to be ready for the moment when “soon” becomes “now”.
But according to God’s promise2 Peter 3:13-14
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before the Lord, at peace.
Poetry: ADVENT (On a Theme by Dietrich Bonhoeffer) by Pamela Cranston
Look how long the tired world waited, locked in its lonely cell, guilty as a prisoner. As you can imagine, it sang and whistled in the dark. It hoped. It paced and puttered about, tidying its little piles of inconsequence. It wept from the weight of ennui draped like shackles on its wrists. It raged and wailed against the walls of its own plight. But there was nothing the world could do to find its freedom. The door was shut tight. It could only be opened from the outside. Who could believe the latch would be turned by the flower of a newborn hand?
Music: Soon and Very Soon written and sung by Andraé Crouch, accompanied here by Jessy Dixon
Andraé Edward Crouch (July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015) was an American Gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor. Referred to as “the father of modern gospel music” by gospel music professionals.
Jessy Dixon (March 12, 1938 – September 26, 2011) was an American Gospel music singer, songwriter, and pianist, with success among audiences across racial lines. He garnered seven Grammy Award nominations during his career.