Waiting. Waiting for the light to change. Waiting to be let in for a Zoom meeting. Waiting for a vaccine. Waiting for a time to hug all those around you. Waiting to go to a concert and dance your toosh off.
Waiting seems a part of life…always has been. Perhaps it always will be, and it is no different in Jesus’ time. John the Baptist and the disciples were waiting, waiting for the One who would come and save them. Waiting for the one who had been foretold by the prophets. “Are you the one, or are we to wait for another?” In other words, can we stop waiting? And I also hear, do you…should I just stop waiting?
John’s words have weight to them, so much hurt and disappointment and fear and uncertainty in them. John who has held Jesus in his hands, looked Jesus in the eye, even heard the voice of God proclaiming Jesus as God’s son. But that’s how heavy this literal prison cell he is in feels. You forget and you doubt the things that have been most loudly proclaimed to you.
My guess is that many of us know what that’s like. To be in a place of shadow and despair that we start to doubt the things that have been loudly proclaimed over us – that we are loved, that we are powerful, that we are valuable, that what we do matters to this world.
So, yes, you and I can feel the weight of John’s words. We get his full-throated question because we have asked it ourselves.
And the beauty of hearing this Advent text is that, if John can ask it, then so can we. In the middle of Advent and in the middle of our day, fragile faith that’s gone cold is welcome here. That’s the beauty of our gospel.
Are you the one, Jesus, or do we need to wait for another?
And you know what Jesus says? Yes. Yes, I am. The wait is over. I AM the one you have been waiting for and for whom the prophets and sages foretold.
Jesus is clear with his answer but notice especially how Jesus answers? By actions and by verbs – Heal, Give, Walk, Cleanse, Hear, Raise, Bring. These actions are visceral and tangible and strong.
Also, notice that it’s community who Jesus entrusts to tell John that help, hope, and healing has arrived. Jesus tells the disciples, “You go tell John what I’m doing.” In other words, Jesus invites others to share what they see Jesus doing; he trusts their experience of seeing him healing, raising, bringing and giving. Community.
I adore this.
I don’t know about you, but..
I know I am John at times. Sitting, weighted, despairing, hoping…
And other times, I know I am community. Part of the good news, sharing my experience of seeing God in action.
Are you the One we’ve been waiting for? It is the question John asks, and it is the question we ask this third week in Advent. Is Jesus the One we’ve been waiting for? Jesus, who speaks hope into despair, light into darkness. Jesus, the one who believes in and brings peace instead of violence, mercy instead of vengeance, presence instead of isolation.
May we stand in this hope as we live into Christ’s arrival which is both here and coming soon. Thanks be to God.
- The Rev. Laura F. Gettys, Associate Rector
VIDEO of December 16 Advent Reflection by the Rev. Laura F. Gettys
with Music for Meditation. Reflection based on Luke 7:19-23