Rev Katherine Rainger reflects on the ancient and contemporary desire for peace.
The worship of waiting
It is hopeful anticipation and a name for something that is truth but not yet realised.
Daily Reading Luke 2:36-40
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
Anna, was a woman of faithful waiting.
Her life was a worship of waiting. She knew what it was to experience loss yet she devoted her life to serving, to speaking the word of God and patiently waiting with a hope of redemption. Hope which would come in the form of a baby.
Here, in this season of advent, we experience a season of waiting. A season of
anticipation and hope and tension.
But for what are we waiting?
Creation is yearning, calling out a chorus. It announces that the King is coming with bird song, colour and texture. Here in the west, this land cared for, for thousands of years by the Whadjuk people, breathes in the hot dry air of the Nyoongar season of Birak. Heat blows in from the east and then is cooled by the afternoon breeze from the west. Can you hear the baby magpies still cry for their parents and see the snakes begin to shed their skins?
The tadpoles complete their transformation and leap out of the water as frogs, while the Australian Christmas tree colours the sky with their bright orange blossoms. This is how creation responds to the season of advent in this beautiful country. As we sing our voices join the chorus, Oh come all ye faithful. Only we join with creations song of worship, a song already begun.
God’s breath of life in all living things.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting for the day to come
Waiting to hear the voice of the one
Waiting for the year to end
Waiting for new hope to send
Waiting for conflicts to resolve
Waiting for a Kingdom promised long ago.
His Kingdom come.
Through the birth of a baby. A Kingdom come now but also not yet. This in-between
space, where lament and hope exist side by side. The hope of a world where there will be no more tears. Yet we find ourselves in a world where the only way to hope is through those very same tears.
The angels cry Immanuel! Immanuel! God is with us. The Christ, born to us as a baby in a stable, in the most unprecedented of circumstances. Forced to be a refugee, to flee his
homeland, because a king threatened to take this baby’s life.
It is this child who would grow and teach us how to love. A love that is deep and
sacrifices all. Sacrifices all for love.
So here we are, as the hot wind blows. Waiting. Waiting. A deepening desire for the
hope of what is to come. And in this in-between space, of the now but not yet, it is here
the gentle whisper comes on the hot dry eastern breeze, “I am here. I love you. Please
look after the least of these”.
So just like Anna, we wait.
Just love. Only love. Always love.
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