Have you been in a conversation lately about health care reform? …ending the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq? …the state of the economy? … world hunger? Or any major social issue? Was there someone that was the voice of hope? Someone that painted a picture of how the future could be? Someone who spoke in a way that made you feel it might be possible? If so, there was probably also a naysayer who spoke up – “That will never happen”; “Not possible.” The cloud of cynicism rises up and smothers hopefulness.
I get so frustrated in those conversations…I want to say to the cynic, “Quiet! Let’s hear the hopeful vision… I want to see and hear and feel and taste what that might be like … just for a minute…just for 30 seconds! To not have men and women going off to war every day and hearing a “salute to the troops” every morning. (Not because they don’t deserve every minute of this, but because the wars are over.) To know that we have made it possible for everyone to have access to basic health care. Or to know that no one has to go to bed hungry tonight, not having eaten for days. I just want to imagine, for a few moments, what that world might look like and sound like and feel like!”
The first reading today is just that… the lone, hopeful, visionary voice of the prophet Isaiah. We read it knowing that Isaiah was anticipating the savior, “forth-telling” the future, trying to instill hope, painting a vision of an ideal world that awaited the Israelites. I’m sure he had his critics… “he’s nuts…. A wolf the guest of the lamb?? Wild animals led by a child?? Never happen.”
The naysayers, then and now, miss the point! Unless we first see the vision, hear the hope, and taste our desires for peace and our longing for love, strategies and “realistic plans” are just pushing pieces around on the game board. Every person that can see and articulate a hopeful vision is a gift to us… they help us see a better world… our hope is stirred…our desires are again deeply felt. They shake us out of our complacency and remind us that the One we call “God” is beyond anything we can imagine, and, even now is “ising” everywhere! We need these folks to set fire to our desires, to rattle our hearts and habits, so we can see clearly. And then we may know the next right thing to do. It might be to call our senators, protest or pray, but it also might be to just do what’s in front of us… like take out the trash and walk the dog.This Advent let the “Breath” of the Lord rest upon you; the Breath of wisdom and understanding breathe in you; the Breath of counsel and strength and knowledge and wonder of the Lord be your delight.
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