Monthly Archives: November 2010
(That’s pretty close to how the show closed five months later when I saw U2 at the Palace of Auburn Hills with my wife, brother and sister in law).
Today is the first day of Advent 2010. It is the Christian New year. This was the old Testament lectionary text from the common lectionary for today:
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isaiah 2:1-5).
Advent is all about hope, anticipation and waiting. We wait for several weeks to celebrate once again on Christmas day the coming of the ancient messianic hope of a people, the fulfillment of the many things one mother named Mary treasured in her heart, in the unexpected form of a an infant from Nazareth, by way of Bethlehem, who would grow up be brutally killed and then be declared not only risen again but also God incarnate by his followers.
As we wait to celebrate once again the events of Christmas past on Christmas day, we also hope with eager expectation for a day of return, a day when disputes between individuals and nations are settled. We wait for a day when in a startling reversal of history the tools of war are beaten or melted down and once again turned into tools for cultivating life rather than death. A day when men and women “study war no more” as the Isaiah passage was appropriated in one African American spiritual called “Down by the Riverside.” A day when all of the cosmos sings a new song. A day that Isaiah, Amos, MLK and Bono all have told us in their own way is coming.
As we await this day, sometimes amidst the hymns of expectation and Christmas carols you can’t help but also sing How long, How long to sing this song? How long to sing the one we are singing and have been singing throughout history, the song of waiting, longing and expectation for peace to finally come? Will the new day, the new song ever come?