Saturday, December 3, 2022

Advent: A Different Perspective

On the first day that we heard Isaiah proclaimed at morning prayer our sister read with such conviction those dreamy, yet possible passages of hope, light, and promise. 

It must be Advent! And how good that is...

... because Advent offers us an opportunity to hope and dream of what it might look like if we took more seriously the reality of incarnation, the truth that we are embodied love.

It's a perspective we could really use these days. (Isn't that the kind of stuff we say each Advent?!)

I love this poem by Jan Richardson because it gives us a different perspective on the Annunciation. Of course we ponder for ourselves how insurmountable it might have felt for Mary to say "Yes" and hope we might muster up the courage to give a real, heartfelt one ourselves at least once in our lives.

But, how must it have felt to bear the news to Mary, to have to be the one to tell her about God's big ask? No wonder it took an angel!

I hope you love the poem, too.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Gabriel’s Annunciation
Jan Richardson

For a moment
I hesitated
on the threshold.
For the space
of a breath
I paused,
unwilling to disturb
her last ordinary moment,
knowing that the next step
would cleave her life:
that this day
would slice her story
in two,
dividing all the days before
from all the ones
to come.

The artists would later
depict the scene:
Mary dazzled
by the archangel,
her head bowed
in humble assent,
awed by the messenger
who condescended
to leave paradise
to bestow such an honor
upon a woman, and mortal.

Yet I tell you
it was I who was dazzled,
I who found myself agape
when I came upon her—
reading, at the loom, in the kitchen,
I cannot now recall;
only that the woman before me—
blessed and full of grace
long before I called her so—
shimmered with how completely
she inhabited herself,
inhabited the space around her,
inhabited the moment
that hung between us.

I wanted to save her
from what I had been sent
to say.

Yet when the time came,
when I had stammered
the invitation
(history would not record
the sweat on my brow,
the pounding of my heart;
would not note
that I said
Do not be afraid
to myself as much as
to her)
it was she
who saved me—
her first deliverance—
her Let it be
not just declaration
to the Divine
but a word of solace,
of soothing,
of benediction

for the angel
in the doorway
who would hesitate
one last time—
just for the space
of a breath
torn from his chest—
before wrenching himself away
from her radiant consent,
her beautiful and
awful yes.

The Many Shapes of Grief or, a Little Bit of Everything

After my last post , one of my sisters stopped me by the community room and told me about a podcast from Anderson Cooper. In the eight-episo...