On Sunday at church, Park Slope United Methodist Church in Brooklyn NY (http://www.parkslopeumc.org), our pastor, Rev. Herb Miller talked about the usual things of Advent - the waiting, the darkness. But he said these things in new ways that touched my heart. Now, what I am writing here is not the same as his sermon. It is some filtered version that I heard in my seat on the left hand side - leaning on the corner of the pew next to the radiators pumping out delicious heat. It is, of course, the part that I wanted to hear - or hopefully, needed to hear.
I heard that what we are waiting for in these weeks of Advent is not Christmas. Waiting for Christmas is easy; it is only a few weeks away. As an adult, I can say that because I know that Christmas will actually be here tomorrow. So we are not waiting for this one hoped filled morning. What we are waiting for is the fulfillment of all that we hope for most - for a child to heal, for a mental illness to abate, for wars to end, for rape to stop. What we are waiting for is the fulfillment of God's dream for us.
It is a long hard wait - one that started with the saints throughout Acts. It is a long wait where hopes can dim. But the way Herb expressed this today, allowed me to feel my deep longings -- for justice, for fairness, for beauty, for the earth. These desires are not a pipe dream to be ridiculed by the cynic inside who tells me, "Be realistic!" Rather, these desires can rise from me like a fresh, sharp lemon scent, like a sweet perfume of Christ to God (2 Corinthians 2:15).
What I heard this morning was an invitation to wait "as if", God's dream already is - to live as if justice will be done, as if health care will be part of every life, as if everyone should have enough. Responding, sharing, "as if" the social standard right now, at this moment, is one of blinding love. So we feed people (which we do on Sundays at 2 pm each week) not because we think that action will end hunger but because, right now, we have neighbors who are hungry. And we write to our congress people, not because our one letter will change policy, but to participate in our shared life. And we wait, in holy silence together, for the unfolding of God's dream.