I too am waiting. However, I am waiting for nothing, anything, something, everything – all at the same time. Generally, the advent language and imagery terrify me. I cringe at the overuse and abuse of light and darkness: reminding me of the dark tribes and the heathens, from that place of total darkness in need of the shining bright Light. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light! Those who live in darkness and embody darkness need light! Imagine this mantra over years on repeating and then try to understand how easily people of a lighter-hue are privileged over those of a heavier one. This is not to mention those laden with long black beards. My terror is compounded not only by this ritual humiliation but the internalisation in both camps as a result. My receptors do a blip and long pause at such readings during this season
But this is not all: the imageries of the season from readings, liturgies and lyrics of those “holy than other hymns” that dropped out of the mouth of God ring in and cast and recast in concrete the notion of Empire: Lord of Might; Thrones shall rest; King of Kings – Make Way, Make Way; He who Shall by Right all the Nations Possess; Everlasting Seat; The Race that long in darkness pined have seen a Glorious Light; His power increasing shall Spread; Him shall all the Tribes of Earth Obey; The Lord Makes Bare his Arms Through all the Earth Abroad. Many have drunk of this wine of intoxication and then reasoned their God-given right to shackle and lockdown others as non-human beings. Scripture, theology, liturgy, lyrics, Empire and Kingdom got on board the holy boat of Christianity. So when the Empire’s priests landed on virgin soil, they fell on their knees, gave thanks to God, ask the natives for their gold and then fell upon them with the might of swords and guns. Today priests of the empire freedom, democracy and free-market for the natives, then bomb the living daylights out of them. I wonder: has the heart of the Divine become sluggish? Stir up the power of your Love, O God and Come. Come Lover of the dead corners of the earth and the forgotten wretched of the earth!
I often wonder how many in the “holy huddle” really expects Jesus to return. I even wonder if the Church really wants Jesus to return. This will be too bad for business: especially having to give up all the power, comfort and security and be no more. Or perhaps we have been so disappointed by the first, we desperately need the second! Believe it or not – I am waiting for Jesus to return. Not that I think he got it wrong the first time. I have lots of troubling questions for him. They are lying like splinters at the tip of my tongue ready to be rolled off. Here are a few:
How come we adore and lavish the “child” of Christmas: with praise of love, joy and hope and canticles of “Unto us a Child is born”; Peace Bearer, Counsellor; O Holy Child; He smiles within his cradle – A babe with face so bright; Infant holy, Infant lowly…. and yet down the ages, exploited and excluded children from most of our life together – relegating them to the margins? We are so exploitative of our children that we need “Child Protection” policies to protect them from us. Why have we missed your insight: Unless you become like a child you cannot enter….What is really your point? How locked? How dull? How unimaginative? How adult? – are our liturgies, texts, homilies, our lives? Is this why we miss the music in the wilderness? O God please raise up children from these stones?
Who are you Jesus-Christ? Your genealogy is quite impressive. In fact, it counters the ridiculous notion of a “purist” identity: Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and God knows where. So much for the fossilized and shackling ideology of “essentialized identity”. The scandal of particularity sounds very much like hyphenated identities. Are you a hybrid Jesus? Is that why you were very comfortable in traversing and transgressing the worlds of nationality, gender, sexuality, race, and class? Is that why the purists nailed you to the tree? In Christ there are male and female, slave and free, Gentile and Jew, black and white, north and south, east and west – all at the same time!
I love creative disorder. I am WAIT-ing. I am waiting for: no-thing, any-thing, some-thing, every-thing – all at the same time. There is a THING here. Like those learned visitors who sought to worship the Child – I may be off course by 9 miles. You see – as negotiator of the state of in-between-ness, I have a very faint glimpse of what it means to straddle a paradox: that moving line between the already and the not yet; between hope and the temptation to despair.
copyright © November 27,2010