Nancy H. Sehested Sermons & Writings

The breakthrough of God is happening

An Advent call to worship

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

The breakthrough of God is happening. It is happening in the midst of the dark night of the soul, when no one can see clearly, and our fears are magnified. God is creating in the darkness of the womb of this world.

We are Zechariah, saying our prayers in the congregation, carrying our own disappointments in prayers unanswered. We are stunned into silence by God’s promise of new life.

We are Elizabeth, having given up our dreams to our own barrenness. We are shocked that we are not too old or too forgotten for God to remember us with new life.

We are Mary, not prepared for big assignments with our too-young selves. We are surprised that we have been chosen to carry in our wombs the hope of peace. We burst forth in song, of the peculiar submission that leads to revolt, a longing for the tables to turn, for a world safe and merciful and just for our baby.

We are Joseph, deciphering our dreams and wondering if the messages can be trusted. We are stepping out in spite of the dangers, striking out with every refugee’s desperate hope, willing to be led by God’s angelic forces into an uncertain future.

We are the innkeeper, overwhelmed by strangers with too many needs and too few resources at our door.

We are the shepherds on a hillside, seeing in the night sky an odd brightness, ushering in an uncommon peace, and beckoning us to join angels singing.

We are the magi, journeying in the night guided by a star of wonder, offering tribute amid tribulation, beguiled by craven rulers, forced to find another way home.

We are the dreamers, the hope-bearers, the wanderers, the kneelers, the singers. We are the old ones and the young ones. We are the ones who have seen the breakthrough of God out of the dark night.

Sisters and brothers, the self-same concourse of angels who hovered over Bethlehem in days of yore now circle above us, announcing anew the prospect of a new creation. If you dare, say with the Blessed Mother Mary, “let it be with me according to your Word.”

Above: "Concourse of angels attend the newborn Christ child" by Brian Kershisnik.

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Circle of Mercy Congregation, Asheville, NC, Third Sunday of Advent, 16 December 2018
©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org