ADVENT 4B: God-Bearer

Ramblings on this week’s Lectionary readings…

During Advent, the Lectionary invites us to read some familiar texts, texts that many of us could almost recite from memory. But if we think that it is just a repetition of the same things as last year, we are very mistaken. We are different; the world is different. And God calls us to walk a little bit farther in the journey, even if it’s only a tiny step closer than last year. God calls us to open our lives to receive. God calls us to open our lives to become God-bearers.

2 Samuel 7: 1-16
In the early nomadic times of the Hebrew people, the tent and the tabernacle was that place where, according to the Faith, the Lord resided. It was the appointed place of the Lord. This was the way that God reminded the people that they were not alone. Even though the Lord’s people, as they lived through exile and their nomadic beginnings, moved about, they knew that God was with them–residing in a place of honor, a place specifically appointed for the Presence of the Lord, a special place that bore God. This was the place that held the mystery that was God. And now the Lord is speaking of a new time to come. Finally, the people will be settled, planted by the Lord in a new place and, still, the Lord will reside with them, making a house, a place of permanence, a place of glory, a new place of God-bearing.

Romans 16: 25-27
So many Christmases ago, God burst forth into humanity just as God promised. The mystery of God so long shrouded in tabernacles and temples was finally made known in a way that the only response one can make, the only way one can understand is through faith. God is still mystery but where before the mystery was cloaked in secrecy, now the mystery is clothed in faith.

Luke 1: 26-38
“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The announcement has been made and heard. The Lord is coming. The Lord who has always been with the people, whether borne in a traveling tabernacle or a house of glory, is now making Godself known in a new way. A humble and uncomplicated young girl will conceive. Her womb will become the tabernacle of God. Alfred Delp said “that God became a mother’s son; that there could be a woman walking the earth whose womb was consecrated to be the holy temple and tabernacle of God–that is actually earth’s perfection and the fulfillment of its expectations.”(i)

God came not to reside in a tabernacle or a temple but, finally, in humanity itself. We are all called to become that womb, that bearer of God. We are all called to be God’s sanctuary here on earth. There is still wonder and awe and mystery when it comes to God’s Presence. But the mystery is now ours to bear and through which to journey.

So go forth and receive the One that you will bear!

Grace and Peace,

(i) Alfred Delp, “The Shaking Reality of Advent”, in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, (Plough Publishing)

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