Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7
As you read these words, I’m about 745 miles northeast of Woodland, at The Dwelling Place, a Franciscan prayer center deep in rural east Mississippi. This is the twenty-fifth year I’ve spent a portion of Advent there, always waiting, always hoping, always in the company of good friends —- and plenty of Mennonite pastries.
Advent hope is a prism reflecting the longing of the ancient people of God for the Messiah, the longing of the universal Church for the coming of justice in the reign of Christ, and, surprisingly, quotidian hopes rooted in the here and now. Most of the years of this pilgrimage I’ve been focused on the latter kind of hope, specifically a way to live out my sense of call. At the beginning, I had meaningful work, but also a clear sense that it was temporary. For the long middle years, I was able to hold on to hope in part because of that yearly pilgrimage and the friends that met to hold on with me. We reached out, praying and longing for each other’s hopes.
Now I go back each year with a sense of profound thanksgiving. In so many ways my hope has been realized, but I continue to make space for the continuing work of God. I wait in hope for whatever may come next.
In Psalm 62 the psalmist affirms that we wait for God alone, meaning that, ultimately, no other entity can fulfill Hope. However, waiting for God alone doesn’t have to be done in isolation. Much more often than not we need companions to hold on to our hopes with us as we hold on to theirs.
May you find that kind of community this Advent season.