02 December 2015

Advent Prayer: Coming to see the Miracle of an Everyday God

So much in the spiritual life is about learning to see. Advent is often called a season of light and light is precisely that which allows us to see things --- hopefully as they really are! I remember the theology class I was in when the professor pointed out that we don't so much see the light as we see everything by virtue of the light. It was one of those aha moments, dazzling and utterly delightful because it involved a bit of insight that also meant nothing would ever again look the same to me.

These days, when I think of Christ as the Light, I think of the One who allows me to see reality as it is. He reveals God to us --- the One whose just-making judgment is achieved in mercy and compassion --- and he reveals ourselves to us; he shows us to be human beings who are incomplete and distorted without the One who loves us into trueness and completes us by drawing us into himself. Of course he also shows what true humanity is --- a life of generosity and other-centeredness, a life of love and service lived in relationship. Similarly the Christ reveals this world to be the very place where God is revealed definitively. Sometimes we spend our lives seeking a God who resides in a remote heaven when Advent and Christmas witness to a God who comes to us, who seeks us out precisely here in this everyday world of space-time.

My prayer for Advent is that we allow this "everyday God" to shine his extraordinary light on all of reality so that day by day we come to see it more clearly, know and appreciate it more truly, and embrace it and the God who creates it at every moment with genuine love. Perhaps then when Christmas comes we will be able to see more clearly the paradox of an Incarnation that is at once the miraculous revelation of the transcendent One who comes to us in complete ordinariness.

I almost changed videos last night to "day by Day" from Godspell because of the prayer ending the piece. A couple of people heard resonances of Godspell in my prayer as well so I am adding a video which speaks to the challenge of allowing ourselves to find (or be found by!) and follow the transcendent God in the ordinary every day of our lives. In deciding which video to use I saw one of the original cast which reminded me that the original musical was offensive to many religious folks --- just as the Incarnation was offensive to many in Jesus' day. The scandal of the Incarnation, a transcendent God who chooses to turn a human face to us which reveals both Divinity and Humanity, and the need to find that God in the ordinariness of our lives, all of these themes are present throughout Advent.