Author: Chad Hyatt
Reflection: v. 33, ‘Watch out! Stay alert!’
We missed it. That’s the tragic truth the Gospel tells as we start Advent. God answered Isaiah’s prayer—a cry that gives voice to our own fervent longing. God tore open the heavens and came down. And we missed it. We missed it then for the same reasons we are liable miss it now. God did not come to defend the status quo. God came to defend the poor. God won’t protect the privilege we deny is ours but fight tooth and nail to keep. God comes to save those without privilege or place within the unjust structures we make and maintain. Jesus of Nazareth was a poor laborer from Galilee. He didn’t look much like God tearing open the heavens and coming down in glory and might. Not when he compassionately healed lepers and restored them to community. Not when he fed the multitudes of the poor with meager rations. Not when he made a place at the table for the outcast. Not when he healed the sick whom others regarded as ‘sinners’ on account of their suffering. Not when he went about Galilee with no place to lay his head. And certainly not when he hung, tortured and humiliated, gasping for breath on a Roman cross. Church folks sometimes say God doesn’t come when we want—but God is always on time. The Scriptures also teach us God doesn’t come how we want. But God comes to save us nevertheless. The question for us is the same as it was for our ancestors: what happens when the God of our prayers comes in the person of the poor—and for the liberation of the poor? Advent is a grace-event that calls us to wake up lest we miss it all over again.
Prayer Jesus, you come to us again and again in the guise of the poor. Rend not the skies but our hearts, that we may see you in our homeless neighbors.