The First Sunday of Advent
Advent begins with a prayer of the prophet Isaiah that is both a lament and a plea: the heavens will open and the God of Sinai will come down with righteous power to stun the enemies of Israel. The people of God are in exile, the temple destroyed. A champion is needed, one that will right the old wrongs and bring Israel back home. This advent begins with weeping and mourning.
"O that you would tear open the heavens and come down so that the mountains would quake in your presence."
But God does not come down in a pillar of fire, an earthquake, or a mighty wind. God appears to be silent; Isaiah laments, "you have hidden your face from us." How often do we feel the same as Isaiah, lost and adrift?
Yet Isaiah finishes this prayer with a hopeful note to the future, "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." As clay waits to be shaped by the potter, we wait to be shaped by God.
Isaiah tells us to wait. Listen. God is coming, but not how we expect.