December 4 Sunday Preview, from The Rev. Kaji Douša
Last week, Peter Heltzel invited us to reflect on the following:
In No Name In the Street (1972), James Baldwin sang of a song of death and resurrection: “An old world is dying, and a new one, kicking in the belly of its mother, time, announces that it is ready to be born. This birth will not be easy, and many of us are doomed to discover that we are exceedingly clumsy midwives. No matter, so long as we accept that our responsibility is to the newborn: the acceptance of responsibility contains the key to the necessarily evolving skill.”
Peter asks: What does it mean to be midwives of the new world?
I didn’t know it was coming, but this will be my Advent reflection for the season.
And isn’t that the way? Advent ushers in nothing but the unexpected, even if we thought we’d named what we need.
Meanwhile, who wants to be a midwife? Well, some. I have a few friends who are preparing for the holy orders of ushering in new births, thanks be to God. But the rest of us want nothing to do with births for which we aren’t directly responsible. I’ve been to births. I’ve had one (without medication, no less). They’re painful, they’re messy, they might even be embarrassing. You should never hear the kinds of bargains I offered to the nurses and assistants who ushered in my child’s birth. At one point, I’ll admit that I tried to bargain with them: let me go now and I’ll just come back tomorrow when I’ve had more rest.
And isn’t that the way? Don’t we try to argue, to bargain for when we’re ready for God to be born in our lives? Wait till tomorrow, we plead. We’ll be ready later. I think some of this is that we aren’t necessarily ready to hear or to be where God needs us to listen or to hear. Such is the plight of human life.
But resisting the plight of human life is part of what it means to be Followers of Jesus.
So, this Second Sunday of Advent, let us come together to see where Jesus is asking us to listen, rest, plea, resist. How is the world we know being asked to change? That’s the urgency of the Advent question, and I can’t wait to explore this with you as we reflect on God’s word.
Please bring a friend or two. You shouldn’t have to face these questions without them.
See you Sunday!