Reading: Luke 23
It seems timely that we come to this passage during the first week of Advent.
I have always felt that Advent and Easter have a lot in common. Both are times of reflection, times of waiting, times of Lament.
You might find it surprising that I associate Advent with Lament, but when you think about it, its not really. Advent is a time of preparation, a time when we who are part of the Christian Tradition ready ourselves for the coming of our Servant Savior, and it is a time of Lament. A time for us to sit in that space of longing, of desperate Hope, and of terrible suffering of the sort that only comes with broken dreams, and broken promises. During Advent, we sit with those who suffer, we grieve with those who mourn, we acknowledge that we, our world, our families and communities, are not the way they are supposed to be. This year was not the way it was supposed to be. So much isn’t. Like the Israelites hoping desperately for a Messiah that never came, we hope for healing for a world that refuses to be made right. Advent is a time for us to sit with that, to acknowledge our collective suffering, to grieve what could have been, to remember what we’ve lost.
Our culture is not good at lament, we like to rush forward to celebration, to Easter Sunday and the empty tomb, to Christmas morning and the baby in the manger, but Jesus is dead, and the manger is empty, and this year sucked, and people died, and their are still kids sleeping under Grafton bridge, and so we acknowledge that. We need to acknowledge that, we cannot truly celebrate our Hope, until we remember what we Hope for.
Facebook reminded me of this quote from a sermon I preached last year on this topic.
“Lament is a vital part of our Advent preparation…Lament is able to sustain Hope because despair is not it’s opposite, it is it’s birth place. Hope rises from the ashes of our grief, it is birthed in the crucible of our collective suffering, it watered by the joining of our collective tears .” (You can find the sermon here if you’re interested).
Take a moment to grieve, today, this week, this season. We all pretend to be happy during this season, fake smiles make plastic people. Its ok not to be ok, none of us are. My mental healths the worst its been in a minute, every days a day, and the world is doing a tremendous job of proving the existence of Hell, that’s life, sometimes it sucks, sometimes it feels to much, sometimes we let ourselves down, sometimes we let others down, sometimes we get let down. The world is not the way it should be, and that’s ok. We have Hope, we believe that one day this world will be made right, that healing and justice will pour down on us like rain on an Auckland Summers day.
Through our grief, through our time of Lament, we hold to Hope. But, let us not rush through this season. Let us wait, let us grieve together, the Crucified One is with us even in this season.