Advent Solidarity

Believe the worst and don’t be disappointed. That’s what many would see as good advice in our dealings with one another.
 
Have your ever been told that someone’s cynicism about humankind is really just being realistic? I don’t think we wish to believe the worst. In fact, I believe that in the heart of every person there is a desire for human community which has respect and love for one another at its core. We want something better, we can sometimes glimpse its possibilities and our good dreams haunt us.
 
Advent is the season for such good hauntings.
 
Advent prepares us for what we hope for but don’t always dare to believe; an inbreaking of something entirely new, a visitation of love that is as unprecedented as it is undeserved. Even though we are anticipating something as sweet as a baby, this is not love in the mushy sentimental sense. This is the kind of visitation that is more like a fierce resistance, an ultimate, all-or-nothing stand against everything that is unloving, divisive and unjust.
 
When we prepare for the coming of God we can never be sure where or how that visitation will occur. After all, if divinity can bed down as a wailing infant in a pile of straw amongst the livestock, holiness can emerge anywhere and everywhere.
 
So we wait and we hope and we dream of joy and peace breaking in and breaking out, overturning all those beliefs and reduced expectations of our neighbours that we wish we didn’t believe were realistic. Hope, joy, peace and love are all good words to express what Advent means to us, but personally, I prefer another. Solidarity.
 
Walter Brueggemann defines solidarity as steadfast love enacted with transformative strength. When we believe the media narrative or slip easily into our culture’s diagnosis of the sad state of the human character, we ignore our capacity for commitment to one another’s good. We cease to expect the kind of social transformation possible when we stand together and love with courage, refusing to give up on our neighbours, or on ourselves.
 
Advent means a revived passion for solidarity because that moment for which we wait is nothing less than the solidarity of God with us. This is not a send you ‘thoughts and prayers’ type solidarity, nor a ‘with you in spirit’ solidarity but an actual physical entering into our own mess and pain to be God with us.
 
So we wait and hope with the kind of imaginative courage awakened by an impossibly vulnerable God who turns up in the most inauspicious moments. We hold vigil together because we are haunted by the same good dreams of mercy and human dignity. We resist the loud public voices of cynicism and despair because God in Christ has forever claimed that space of solidarity with us, one quiet night when love was born.
 
Blessings on your Advent journey.
 
Sue +

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