There is a line in an Advent song that sings like,
“O Come, O rod of Jesse’s stem”
And today’s reading is about the desert and the parched land and the steppe blooming
“with abundant flowers.”
But I’m just over here like, “Yeah, and I’ll bet that those were watered
by our collective tears.”
“Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” a prayer prays,
Well, mine and the priest who spoke at the prayer service I attended on Friday.
“The Valley of tears,” he referenced, talking about
And the rest of the Middle East.
And our prospective bedrooms and bathrooms and cars and pews.
I don’t know–where is your preferred place of crying?
I’m partial to my car and prayer services, I guess. Judging from my track record, here.
And what about the characters of Advent?
Elizabeth–every month–staring at red again.
Simeon walking home every night from the temple, knowing in his heart that he didn’t encounter heaven that day, either.
The people listening to Jeremiah and Isaiah and Baruch and the prophets throughout all of those old books like, “Yeah man, everything kind of sucks right now.”
And the question in each of our hearts is: “God? God? Are you still there?”
And softly, softly,
Like the gentle flame on a simple candle or
The quiet unfurling of a cactus flower we hear,
“I have not forgotten you.”
Write it on your hearts, oh Jerusalem,
Inscribe it on your doors and
Teach it to your children.
Shake it into your beings–
Write it on post-it notes,
Remind your friends,
And convince your heart.
Fill in your name here, when God comes to you today, “_____________,” He says (and really, truly put your name there, “________________, I have not forgotten you.”
And let that peace and hope settle your soul
And enliven your bones.
Plant that hope in your heart.
We are not forgotten, friends, we are not forgotten.
He is coming.
He will save us.
I believe it, I do.
From the Valley of Tears,
I am reminded: I am not alone,
I am not forgotten.
Advent is here, and He is coming.
Sunday’s reading whispered the same,
“You are remembered,” it read, “remembered by God.”
Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.