Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen - Day 15, Third Sunday

This post was written for this day before the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday morning. I'm going to let it stand, because I still believe this to be the heart of it all, the single most important response to life, No.Matter.What. But, oh! Some days it is so hard to hear or to sing this joyful song. So on those days, I will choose to sing it through tears. But I will sing. I will.
"Sing Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
'Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.'
'I will remove from you
all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
which is a burden and reproach for you.
At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,'
says the LORD."
--Zephaniah 3:14-20

Listen! Can you hear it? In the gentle breeze as the sun lights up the flowers of summer? In the rustling grass as the autumn shadows lengthen? Maybe in the rush of birds' wings over the water, or the distant cries of surfers, one to another as they watch and wait for the wave to crest. You won't hear it in the pelican's cry because pelicans have no voice, but I think you can hear it just by watching them lift off majestically or dive deep after dinner. And I know you can hear it as the moon rises behind the clouds. Yes, you can definitely hear it there. 

It's a song of rejoicing, the melody of love. And God sings it over us every minute of every day, in every whispered beauty, in every gift of grace. "The Mighty Warrior who saves" takes delight in us. Did you catch that? 


Is there a finer word in the English language? 

Maybe this one: home.

Which is exactly where we are headed, where we will be gathered in the arms of love and celebrated throughout eternity. Can you picture it? 


Give us eyes to see you loving us, Lord God. And give us ears to hear your song of rejoicing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.