Duccio di Buoninsegna, “The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekial” (1937)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

For Sunday, November 28, 2010
First Sunday of Advent, Year A
Whatever. This is the default posture of our secular age toward faith. The problem is that “whatever” doesn’t work in real life, and deep down, we all know it. If I’m mad at my wife, I can say “whatever”, but that’s not sustainable, and I know it. If one of my kids is going off the rails, I can say “whatever”, but that’s not the reality of the situation. I love my wife. I love my sons. I want things to be right between me and them. I want things to be right at work and at church too.

This Sunday marks a wonderful opportunity to replace “whatever” with something sustainable. How about this: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill toward men”? This Sunday marks the move on the lectionary calendar from Year C’s “Season after Pentecost” (Ordinary Time) to Year A’s “Advent”.

What is “Advent”? Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming”. What is coming? Hectic days of shopping and family we don’t want to see. Only if what hangs over our existence is “whatever”. Let’s take that sign down and replace it with “glory to God in the highest” and just see what could be different.

Here is how “glory to God in the highest” sings through this week’s readings:

The mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established . . . and all the nations will stream to it. He will teach us his ways so that way may walk in his paths. Nation will not rise up against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:1-5).

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
May those who love you be secure
May there be peace within your walls
And security within your citadels (Psalm 122)

Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come (Matt. 24:36-44)

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Rom. 13:11-14)

In response to “whatever” here was G.K. Chesterton’s reply:

“Any dead thing can float downstream. It takes a living thing to swim against it.”

Wishing you a joyous Advent Season.


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