I lit the first candle in my Advent wreath tonight, the winding up of a day spent in various forms of preparation – at Mass, preparing my heart, at home, cleaning and cooking to prepare myself and my house for another week. I’m caught this year by the apocalyptic readings that the lectionary contains as Advent begins – by the dual longing for the birth of Christ and for Him to come again in glory. And as I pondered that dual meaning, I came across another prayer from Walter Bruggemann, an Old Testament theologian who has penned a powerful collection of prayers titled “Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth.” The prayer that catches me tonight is the one that this volume dedicates to Advent. It shares a title with this post, and captures for me the the duality of waiting that I’m experiencing this year.
The grace and the impatience to wait
In our secret yearnings
we wait for your coming,
and in our grinding despair
we doubt that you will.
And in this privileged place
we are surrounded by witnesses who yearn more than do we
and by those who despair more deeply than do we.
Look upon your church and its pastors
in this season of hope
which runs to quickly to fatigue
and this season of yearning
which becomes so easily quarrelsome.
Give us the grace and the impatience
to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes,
to the edges of our finger tips.
We do not want our several worlds to end.
Come in your power
and come in your weakness
in any case
and make all things new.