Guidelines for an Irish-Existentialist Advent (1)
Let me know whether this exploration works for you…
Many of the daily scriptures of Advent come from Second Isaiah (cc. 40-55) or Third Isaiah (cc. 56-66). Second Isaiah addressed exiles in Babylon about 40 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. All the signs of God’s fidelity and favor had been demolished and a good number of folks had been living in exile in Babylon. Imagine how refugees feel. No home. Loss of family members. Loss of everything. “We don’t deserve this!”
Seems to me that Advent addresses those parts of our lives we rarely want to deal with – loss, disillusionment, or betrayal. Too painful. So, many of us live in exile – on the outside looking in; don’t belong; don’t fit in. What would you say to God who, after about 40 years, says this:
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1-2 / First reading for Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent) How do you picture the relationship established here? What’s your reaction? Really.
Come back! Everything’s OK! It’s going to be great!
“Where were you when…?” “Where have you been?” “We didn’t deserve this!”
An Irish-Existentialist Advent happens right between “Comfort!” and “Why?” Being situated here ain’t fun. It’s real, though.
The best definition of self-love I’ve heard is this: Sit with your pain and run away less.