Canticle 19 (Luke 1:68-79)
There is, I think, a widespread “wilderness experience” in our culture. Ours is a wilderness of chaos, competition, confusion, isolation; a wilderness of loneliness, anger, fear, anxiety. There is “wilderness” in the endless search for identity, a place to belong. “Rough places”, all of these. In the midst of such a culture, I have known the blessedness of glimpsing sparks of “the salvation of God”. In thinking about the meaning of the “coming of Christ” into our world, I hear, in healing rhythm, the voice of the SSJD community with its invitation to quietness, silence, peace, connection, rootedness, prayer.
“I thank God,” Paul says, “every time I remember you….and it is right to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your hearts.” He makes a direct reference to his imprisonment. His was literal. But what of our “imprisonments”: our limitations, our fears, our less-than-uplifting actions and reactions? Often, these are no less confining, no less frightening or threatening, no less diminishing or punishing or alienating – in ourselves and in others – than real iron bars. Again, “rough places” these.
Today, we light the candle of Peace. There is considerable comfort and peace, in the assurance that all of us “share in the grace of God” together. Blessed voice in the midst of a hard place.
And so, I do thank God every time I remember you. This Advent, may all longing flesh see the salvation of God….in us and in the fidelity and quiet spirit of praying community.
The Peace of Christ be with you all.