Tuesday, December 23, 2008

...all in the waiting

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought.
-T. S. Eliot
One interesting thing about trying to submit the rhythm of ones soul to the Church calendar is watching it be thwarted. This year, for example, I’ve already written about God pouring out Alleluias on my Lent, and about an illusive Easter that never seemed to arrive. When my spirit is in a posture of repentance, perhaps I am more able to hear surprising news of God’s favor.

And now, as I begin the second Church year with this listening-blog, as I try to catch up with Advent after a month filled with papers and grading and trips, I’m realizing that my season of waiting and longing that I am normally so good at is being thwarted. This year, the triumph of Christ the King Sunday has stayed with me through Advent, and redemption feels so tangible I can’t help but believe it has become incarnate.

Maybe Advent isn’t only about waiting and longing; maybe it is also about expectation, as if all of creation, “the angle choir of matter,” stands “poised as if to sing” (to use phrases from one of Mark Jarman’s Unholy Sonnets). Maybe I always missed that piece of the puzzle as the posture of my soul seemed naturally inclined toward long, enduring waiting. Maybe waiting for a God who takes delight in saturating gratuitous beauty into the laws of creation, who reverses entropy and makes everything fall together, is by definition an expectant...even joyful...wait.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.

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