Advent is a time to look for God and his hope. To wait perhaps in anticipation, in wonder and patience. We have to wait, whether we like it or not. In the midst of blockage, inertia, or simply it’s not yet time, what do we do? What then is the necessary quality or essence of our waiting? What can we do?
We are summoned to be active in the present moment – waiting in hope, writes Rev. Sarah Mullally. Daniel O’Leary suggests adopting the practice of ‘waggling’, where the minnow or salmon flicks its tail, locating and choosing to move into ‘grace space’. Rev. Stephen Cottrell imagines Anna, in the temple, waiting in the shadows, following the sunbeams as they enter and travel up the temple, then moving towards it allowing the sun to rest on her as might a cat sit in the morning sun. The poet priest RS Thomas, in the Bright Field, invites us to turn aside, towards brightness.
Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that … is the eternity that awaits you.
When light is scarce and shadows abound in our hearts (due to illness or relational turmoil say) and in our world (due to climate, terrorism, political turmoil...) we have to choose to face such realities but also and routinely to turn aside to a brightness that is offered us each day. In both we look for God and his hope.
We will look at the characters in the gospel narratives, at what they saw, felt and touched of this ‘grace space’. Where did they locate God and his hope?
We have composed short phrases to go with brief extracts from the Gospels wondering if in positioning ourselves in their way, allowing their shaft of light to play over and through us, we might too like Anna receive what we are waiting for, the brightness of a lit bush.