This week I have come to this conclusion about advent: it is celebrated in community, and not isolation. The people of Israel waited together for hundreds of years. We, the church local and global, wait together.
I started reading Wendell Berry this week (thanks to my writer-sister for lending me the book!) , and thought I'd share one of his Sabbath Poems. The second to last stanza really struck me.
Another Sunday morning comes
And I resume the standing Sabbath
Of the woods, where the finest blooms
Of time return, and where no path
Is worn but wears its makers out
At last, and disappears in leaves
Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut
Fills and levels; here nothing grieves
In the risen season. Past life
Lives in the living. Resurrection
Is in the way each maple leaf
Commemorates its kind, by connection
Outreaching understanding. What rises
Rises into comprehension
And beyond. Even falling raises
In praise of light. What is begun
Is unfinished. And so the mind
That comes to rest among the bluebells
Comes to rest in motion, refined
By alteration. The bud swells,
Opens, makes seed, falls, is well,
Being becoming what it is:
Miracle and parable
Exceeding thought, because it is
Immeasurable; the understander
Encloses understanding, thus
Darkens the light. We can stand under
No ray that is not dimmed y us.
The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.
Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest, or out of it.