Sunday, November 30, 2014

Something's Coming: Our Daily Advent

Could be! 
Who knows? 
There's something due any day; 
I will know right away, 
Soon as it shows. 
It may come cannonballing down through the sky, 
Gleam in its eye, 
Bright as a rose! 

Who knows? 
It's only just out of reach, 
Down the block, on a beach, 
Under a tree. 
I got a feeling there's a miracle due, 
Gonna come true, 
Coming to me! 

Could it be? Yes, it could. 
Something's coming, something good, 
If I can wait! 
Something's coming, I don't know what it is, 
But it is 
Gonna be great! 

With a click, with a shock, 
Phone'll jingle, door'll knock, 
Open the latch! 

Around the corner, 
Or whistling down the river, 
Come on, deliver 
To me! 
The air is humming, 
And something great is coming! 
Who knows? 
It's only just out of reach, 
Down the block, on a beach, 
Maybe ...

Stephen Sondheim, "Something's Coming"

Every day is advent. Though the Liturgical Year presents it to us in kairos, we read in chronos. The kingdom comes: could it be? yes, it could. Whatever is in that humming, hums a call, a jingling, a knock; it is something unconditional and faint, distant, awaiting clarity and proximity, awaiting permission to come aboard, awaiting getting itself delivered, awaiting incarnation and a kingdom come.

On this first Sunday in Advent, Isaiah reminds us that the face of Elohim is hidden, as Israel is in guilt, awaiting creation.

For you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. 
Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands. 
[Is: 64:7-8, NAB]

The Marcan Jesus admonishes the disciples to be ready for God to turn his face back toward them, to be prepared to be discovered and to become.

Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. [Mk 13:35, NAB]

Something's coming. The Advents depicted are of differing occurrences (a promise of return, incarnation, the Kingdom, the day of tribulation) but they speak to the event, the Ad[e]vent of the call, and the response of becoming. That's the good news (and the bad news). The event in these sacred texts is released in the realization that in the kingdom, we do not make ourselves, that what we have made of ourselves withers and falls like dead leaves in the wind. In the kingdom we bring God's hand to our clay and break free in creation. We become something great, something new: we are made flesh from clay.

Every day is Advent. The call is there, and there really is a there, there. And there is the time for there to be found. Not at any particular time or dance, but in the dance that dances blindly through all seasons, all times of day. Watch and listen, the dance does not know from a winter solstice's day or night, does not know when or how the hearer's fiat, the yes to the call, the maiden's opening herself to the Spirit will happen.

It's in the air, humming a tune, an invitation to the dance, could be, who knows, it's only just out of reach, "and something great is coming."

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