The Advent journey continues from grace upon grace to O my soul.
Today I had a chance to visit a wonderful and very elderly woman who suffered a stroke and is working hard at trying to get back on her feet. We sat and talked and prayed and watched the people around us; the helpers and the infirm. I was aware that everyone in the room including the two of us are in the midst of one change or another. All praying O my soul what now?
I came home to start reading about the upcoming Second Sunday in Advent and who showed up but John the Baptizer, calling from his wilderness a hope that One more powerful than he, One filled with Spirit to make the world new, is about to arrive, so repent! Turn around and around again.
Thanks for the message John. We could use repentance and hope these days with so much being so upside down. Thing is, the picture that came along with the text showed a not so hopeful looking John. In fact he looks more like the way I feel about as winter, never mind Advent, is lurking; tired, uncertain, and praying up a storm O my soul.
A rehabilitation center, a home, a church, a bus terminal, a wilderness, anywhere can be a place where loneliness and discouragement has its say if not its way. O my soul.
Henri Nowen was a gay priest who suffered depression and found grace when he went to live with the severely disabled. He knew how soul meets place and people and how in that meeting grace comes in the back door. Here is what he has to say about the lonely place of waiting for One to come.
Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from where we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God.
Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate us and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn.
Hope and love are sometimes reborn when water spills out – like a woman’s waters break before the baby can make it through the canal. We mustn’t flee too far from loneliness, or suffering, or the hard work of any kind of rehabilitation because when we stay awhile, sitting like John sat on that hard rock in the desert our wounds might be irrigated. The redeeming thing is that we can and do wait together. O our souls.