Monday, November 23, 2009

Advent 1, Monday

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

-Prayer of the Day for the First Sunday in Advent

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.

Stir up... your power? A comforting thought, at first, and then a terrifying one. I imagine the ways that Holy Power has been stirred up in generations past. Noah comes to mind, a world destroyed. Jonah, too, swallowed by a whale and an inescapable destiny. And Job - poor, miserable Job, who, when he finally stands up for himself, is flattened again by Your voice in a whirlwind.

But then the other stories: The first story, Creation - the first time your power was stirred up, the first time in the story we share with You, anyway. Exodus, too: your power against the powers that be, and a people were set free. And not freed and then abandoned, no - after that your power was stirred into a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, visible signs of a power stirred.

So you will, I hope, forgive me if thoughts of stirring up your power leave me with less than clear feelings. Tremendous excitement! yes, but also a fear of a power I cannot fathom.

And so it is with care that we pray that the advent of your stirred power in our time be one of merciful protection; of the imparting of knowledge, wisdom and courage; of, yes, a justice that redeems this broken and fearful world. It is more comforting to put it that way. Comforting at first, at least. And then a little more uneasy, once the sharpness of mercy, once the brightness of vision, once the instability of justice-making starts to happen, then it begins to be, just a little, terrifying. And yet we pray it all the same.

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.

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