Advent Manna – Short Takes on the Themes of Advent
Excerpt from Adventually – A Readers Drama for six voices
ONE: Once I dreamed I was in an earthquake. The floor shook and heaved and the walls crumbled and fell. Next I rode in the back of a truck along the street of a bombed out city. Enemy soldiers rode behind the truck. Buildings lay in ruins, all was destroyed. It was end-time, apocalypse, and I mourned for my unborn children.
ALL: (building in intensity and volume) For nation will wise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places … and brother will deliver up brother to death; and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death … and alas for those who are with child in those days and for those who give suck in those days. Pray that it will not happen in winter. Mark 13
FIVE: What does it take for us to see the messiah when the messiah comes?
FOUR: No less than the total annihilation of all the familiar structures, and the comfortable and comforting ways of perceiving and describing reality that we have erected.
TWO: Christ rents in two the shabby curtain of illusion we have draped over our lives on which we hang our hopes and justification.
ALL: Our souls must become a desolate war zone where all we have worshiped, idolized, knelt before, and coveted is laid waste; where the enemy looms before us and we clearly see our own capacity for death, for evil, and for sin.
THREE: Then naked, stripped of our roles and illusions, we come before the altar to wait in disciplined obedience. Now, we know that to wait is a constant stream of yes’s in a drought of debilitating no’s
FOUR: that to wait is an heroic willingness to martyr, to witness, to be one who has seen the living God, the risen Christ, and is therefore, forever possessed by hope.
FIVE: The waiter is a fool, a clown, a nerd, a jerk, a cock-eyed optimist who sees Christ in the eyes of the outcast
SIX: who finds beauty in the squalor of a city ghetto
ONE: who forgives the murderer and the rapist
TWO: who prays for enemies
THREE: who passes out second chances freely
FOUR: who never stops forgiving
SIX: who suspects that people are plotting to make him happy
FIVE: who thinks she makes a difference
ONE: who even believes, most absurd of all, that the Holy One of Israel who made the seas and piled up the mountains
ALL: loved us so much
FIVE: that the Source of all goodness and truth shrunk across the universes of time and space
TWO: and the massive distance, the infinite stretch between the Divine and humankind
SIX: to cling to a young girl’s womb and slowly grow arms and legs and kick and roll and suck its thumb as she strode the rocky paths of Nazareth.
TWO: Not like a Jupiter, who in disguise, would come to visit mortals and test their loyalty and reward and punish according to his haughty whim, this God risked everything.
FIVE: The All-Powerful became a vulnerable babe of simple country parents.
THREE: The All-Knowing put on the distorted, nearsighted vision of the human cornea. Like a horse wearing blinders, the All-Loving accepted the constraining harness of mortality, and bearing the stinging whip, carried the whole wide creation on his broad back.
ONE: Sooner or later our eyes are opened and then we see who really waits.
FOUR: Who are the big time, professional waiters, the high in the art of waiting ones…. the poor, the afflicted, the despised:
ONE, TWO (chanting softly and repeating under the lines of THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX): I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me.
SIX: in crowded welfare offices
FOUR: in stuffy medical clinics
FIVE: in refugee camps
THREE: in lines in the rain for a bowl of rice
SIX: in gutters
FOUR: in abandoned houses
FIVE: in lonely bedrooms
THREE: on death rows
FOUR: in greasy diners
FIVE: in nursing homes
SIX: in hospitals
THREE: in employment offices
(ONE and TWO stop chanting)
ALL: These are the homeless, the lost, the lepers; and they wait for us to discover that it is they for whom we have been waiting.
FOUR: That it is they in whom Christ waits for us
FOUR, SIX: That it is they who bear the babe whom we are called to deliver that we may be redeemed
FOUR, SIX, ONE, THREE: that we may know that it is God who has been waiting for us all along.
Advent Manna are short pieces taken from my writing over the years on the themes of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Some of these pieces are available to purchase on line. This piece is an excerpt from a readers drama for advent I wrote a number of years ago. You can find it HERE
It has been a while since I have written here. I have been busy moving from Kansas, where I have lived for 37 years to Iowa City, Iowa. It has been a time of challenge and transformation for me. I will continue to do the Sanctuary ministry from my new location. I am offering spiritual guidance, teaching, leading retreats, and will continue to publish Holy Ground – Quarterly Reflection on the Contemplative Life. See the summer issue below.
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