Unprepared for the Inbreaking

December 13, 2009

So, it’s advent. Has been for three weeks now. I confess to being a little ambivalent about advent and Christmas. I just don’t think it is all nearly as important as Easter in the grand scheme of things, but that’s a discussion for another night. I do love the liturgy during the services as we light the candles, though, and last week the liturgy spoke of our unpreparedness for the coming of God.

Yes, present tense.

We are unprepared, all of us. It’s been working on me over the last week or so, and I don’t have anything particularly profound to say past that, except to acknowledge that I am indeed very unprepared for the inbreaking of the divine– in every part of my life, not just at Christmas.

Edit: A few more thoughts came to me over the past day or two on this subject, so here goes:

There’s a quote from a theologian that the Bible is “full of stories that never were and always are.” I hate to dig into such a huge can of worms, but I think this is what makes Biblical stories so compelling. To relate it to Advent, I want to limit my exploration of this to the last part of that statement, “and always are.” There’s something about Advent and this preparatory part of the Church calendar that strikes a particularly true note in the human psyche, I think, and there’s something about being reminded of the need to prepare that also strikes us in a particularly true place.

I also wanted to get into the idea of the Inbreaking. Jessie and Emily: you both noted being unprepared for the end of things, and the return, and that’s certainly one level of interpretation, but it wasn’t quite what I was getting at. The Incarnation heralded the start of a very different set of parameters in the human-divine relationship. This was God very literally interacting with creation in creation’s own form. Since then God’s presence on earth has been that of inbreaking– coming into creation and interacting with it. When I speak of being unprepared, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not ready to look for those places where God is being revealed.

Unrelated: Why do I keep smelling Frankincense in this city? Why did my basil die? Why is the garlic thriving?

Andrew: thank you for the tips on the Basil. I wish it had lived. What about the frankincense?

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4 Responses to “Unprepared for the Inbreaking”

  1. em k said

    (I am eating cocoa crispies cereal from a tupperware container because I was too lazy to wash dishes so that I had a bowl…)
    I just taught the high school Sunday lesson on the importance of the resurrection. One of the lead-in questions was whether they felt the birth of Jesus or the resurrection of Jesus was more important and why.
    And you are absolutely right – we are all unprepared. I think I take for granted that Jesus hasn’t come yet so he couldn’t possibly be planning on coming back now… there’s so much more to do on earth, etc… but for all we know, he could be here in the next five seconds… and I would not be ready.
    You have a garlic plant?
    I sent you a Christmas card plus an extra small thing — they made me write on the outside of the envelope everything in the package… and then I had a dream that I forgot to tell them something else that was in it, and they confiscated it and you never got it. So yeah, let me know when you get it… it will probably be a couple weeks like the last letter. (:

  2. Jessie said

    i’m not ready either…. but i still really want jesus to come back now.

  3. Jessie said

    and i’m pretty sure that you mean just coming into our lives in general, but seriously…. right now i’m craving that “all things made new” in a really big, dramatic, end of all things way.

  4. Andrew said

    Basil is really hard to grow in our climate.

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