O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence… (Isaiah 64:1)
These familiar Advent words from the prophet Isaiah strike a particular chord this time around, don’t they? In many ways, it feels like we’ve been living in this Advent season all year. In January, we waited for an end to the wildfires that raged across Australia. As the pandemic arrived, we waited for the conclusion of the shelter-in-place order. This fall, we waited for several days for the official results of the 2020 Presidential election. And even now, we continue to wait for so much⎯for a vaccine, for justice for our Black siblings, for the inauguration of a new Presidential administration, for the chance to hug our loved ones again.
This year, more than many others, we’ve waited. And we’ve waited. And we’ve waited. And it appears that there’s no definitive end in sight, at least for now.
So we join in Isaiah’s cry to God: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence!” And perhaps we even add some cries of our own. “How much longer do we have to wait?” “Come and save us!” “I’m so tired of all this isolation and uncertainty, O God! I miss my family and friends! I don’t want to wait anymore!”
And yet, here we are, still waiting. We’re tired. We’re frustrated. Perhaps we’re even angry at God, like Isaiah in this week’s passage. “You have hidden your face from us,” the prophet Isaiah accuses in this week’s passage, “and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.”
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence!”
Friends, if there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that waiting isn’t as glamorous or easy as we often envision it to be, especially during the warm and tradition-filled season of Advent. As we anticipate the birth of Christ and Christ’s return in glory at the end of days, may we have the courage to follow Isaiah’s example, living honestly into our frustration and lament.
Vicar Hannah Hawkinson
Pastoral Care Ministries