Advent Prayer*: “I offer you, O Lord, my heart, promptly and sincerely.”
We have a vaccine! Word is several companies have vaccines ready for FDA approval We’ve been assured that the FDA process for emergency use will be strenuous and fast tracked. And that distribution plans are well formed and ready to go. Thank God! Our lives have been interrupted for what seems like forever. Our loved ones die without family surrounding them; food pantry lines cover city blocks; empty checking accounts abound; rent and mortgage payments go unpaid. This year has been the hardest most of us have ever lived through.
Yet, we have good news to hold onto, a vaccine is coming! It may take six months to inoculate enough of us for herd immunity to kick in, but soon we expect ICU’s to empty, restaurants to open, ‘essential’ workers to go to work without risking their lives. For now, in the in between time we hold on and we hope as best we can.
The first week of Advent highlights the two comings of the Messiah. In the first coming Jesus is an infant in swaddling clothes, who grew into a peripatetic rabbi in homespun, and died as our Savior, crowned with thorns. In the second coming, we are promised that Christ will come in heavenly raiment and mighty sword, crowned as Lord of Lords. The time between promise and fulfillment is always tense, always given to second guessing, worry, and questioning. Can we really trust that the vaccine will come in time? Will it be safe? Will people be willing to take it? Will a new equally deadly coronavirus just come and take Covid-19’s place. Will there be an end to this?
Advent is the annual season in which the Church lives anew into the in-between time, or the meantime. We are reminded of the posture and purpose we have in our time: to wait and watch, to work and witness.(Mark 12:26) Worry is not part of the program because we have “in every way been enriched in Christ in speech and knowledge just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you.” (I Cor.1:6-7). Hard times need not be avoided. We can walk into struggle, pain, uncertainty because we live here and now, in between promise and fulfillment, with the assurance that there will be fulfillment. An end is coming. We are not alone. God’s got this. Ready my heart, O Lord Advent 2020 Reflections With the Psalmist we reorient ourselves toward hope and faith. We ready our hearts to respond promptly and sincerely as we cry out together:
“Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80
*It is said that this is the daily prayer of John Calvin