Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stir It Up!

Do Something New In My Life, O Lord
You’ve got to watch what you pray for. The Third Sunday of Advent always begins with a prayer for God to, “Stir up thy Power, O Lord, and with great might come among us!” I picture God’s people like a giant kettle of stew – a great variety of kinds and flavors of people held together by a broth of breath – the holy and live sustaining breath of the Holy Spirit – warming over an open fire. Everyone, everything in the stew settles, falls to the bottom, where it all is in danger – danger of burning or sticking, getting stuck at the bottom of the kettle. Stuck in the way things are, the way life is, the ways in which we treat one another, impatient with one another, impatient with the ways of the world.

So we begin to imagine. That’s what Isaiah and the prophets are all about. With the people stuck in Exile, strangers in a strange land, trying hard to remember – remember what home was like, remember what it was like to be at home, remember what it was like to be free. So the prophets, like Isaiah, like John, help us to let go of our impatience, help us to practice a new kind of patience, a patience that imagines – imagines an escape from Exile, imagines new ways to become un-stuck, imagines flowing streams and flowers in the desert, imagines a highway, a Holy Way, a way to return home again, home with our God and One Another.

Our prayer asking God to “Stir up your power and with great might come among us” inspires me to imagine God with a long handled-wooden spoon in his hand, dipping deep into the kettle of our settled existence and begins to stir, and stir, and stir up all that has fallen to the bottom to the surface again.

Stirring things up until the words of Mary Theotokos, Mary the Mother of God, become the way, a new way, a new life, a new world. With his long-handled wooden spoon:
“He has shown the strength of his arm, * he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, * and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, * and the rich he has sent away empty.”

The prophetic imagination calls us to a new patience, a patience like the farmer who waits with patience for the early rain and the late rain to deliver his crops. A patience that does not cause us to grumble against one another. A patience that calls us to something new, wonderful, marvelous, beautiful and heavenly in our life!

Are we ready? Have we had enough of impatience? Are we tired of being stuck in the same old places, the same old ways? Are we ready to pray for a mighty stirring up? Are we ready to enter into a new way of doing things? A new way of being a marvelous and wonderful mixed up stew of people, all kinds of people? Are we ready to be patient with one another and put an end to our grumbling? Are we ready to imagine with Mary and John and Isaiah that eyes that have been blind can be opened? That ears that do not hear can be opened? That we truly want to live in a world that lifts up the lowly and fills the hungry with good things?

If the answer is yes, then it is time to dance and sing our imaginings into reality! And to ask the Lord to: Do something new in my life, something new in my life, something new in my life, O Lord! Do something new in my life, something new in my life, something wonderful in my life, O Lord!

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