Where is our sense of wonder…can it lead to radical love?
The Reverend Michele H. Morgan
Advent 1 B
November 29, 2020
Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Mark 13:24-37
How do you mark time? Caleb and I did a Growing with God session this week and we talked about what we liked about Advent. About the candle lighting, about having a wreath. Mostly for me it was about seeing the candles burn down to different levels. The first candle was always the wild card…would there be enough of a candle to have for Christmas Day when we light the Christ Candle? I was disappointed that it did not make it some years. We would light the wreath and then eat and as the fist candle got shorter and shorter I wanted to rush through dinner so that there would be a candle to light ready for that last white candle.
I kept my eye on that first blue candle; I was awake and alert so that all of the candles were going to be able to show up for the lighting of the Christ Candle.
I loved lighting candles, I loved blowing them out. I loved the angel chimes we had. I think that it gave me a sense of wonder. Perhaps it was the control of a flame on a candle, controlled chaos.
TMF candle tree, me with the extinguisher at the ready. Perhaps a little terror, too.
The family advent wreath gave me a window into marking time, it gave me a chance to understand, clocks and time, and calendars and all of it.
Valarie Kaur is a social justice activist, lawyer, filmmaker, innovator, mother and Sikh American and I am reading her book, A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love. Her work is about revolutionary love, how we get to living into that love. As Raymond Williams says, “Kaur provides us a book that is part memoir and part how to manual on how to practice what she describes as ‘revolutionary love.’ She defines revolutionary love as the active decisions humans make to wonder about others, our opponents, and ourselves. This act of wonder, she says, will help make the world a better place. Failing to wonder ultimately leads to violence against people who we consider the other.”
It is in wonder that we can see past our own fears, we can reach past to see who else is out there and who can be part of our journey.
I have had a rumbly tummy this week to quote my friend Winnie the poo, so one of the things that I often do when I am sick in bed is to reread and old favorite book so I picked up a wrinkle in time, by Madeline L’engle. It was written the year I was born. I read it when I was 11. It gave me many things, a sense of wonder for one, a great love of time travel, and science ficion. And some thing I had not noticed until I read this week. Meg, the shero of the story, is cared for by a creature from Ixchel. This creature has no eyes so Meg is trying to figure out how they perceive the world. They have a very long conversation; in it, Meg is full of wonder…the next day they have a problem they have to solve.
Who helps you? Meg asked.
“Oh dear, it’s so difficult to explain things to you small one, and I know now that it’s not just because you are a child. The other two are hard to reach into as you are. Good help us, Stars help us, perhaps what you couldn’t call light helps us, love helps us. Oh my child, I cannot explain! Just something you just have to know or not know.”
It dawned on me as I was reading that when I got here to St. Mark’s I had a difficult time inviting in everyone to a concept of what I understand as Jesus.
As I have been here I have tried a few ways, I will say Jesus, or a good orderly direction, I will say your high-mindedness.
I have fallen into saying more God, more love, and more light. I guess in the same way I wondered about candles that brought a sense and love of time, I brought my wonder to a novel that gave me a freedom and a new life and it gave me the words to invite you all into a season of wonder. So embrace your wonder and enter into Advent. Amen