This is the meditation I wrote that appears in today’s reading and reflection in Liberti Church’s Advent 2013 Prayerbook, which can be downloaded for free.
This world is anything but peaceable. Humanity is constant in its injustice and wickedness inflicted upon one another across this world. It makes you wonder if “humane” is a misnomer. And we can’t just blame all of this on free will, either. The natural world rages against us with its own violence with staggering regularity. And all of this hits home the most when it’s those closest to us that suffer under this world with little peace on hand.
We look at all of this and ask that oldest of questions: “Why?” But when we open the pages of Scripture, we don’t find answers to this seemingly core thread running through our existence. The God of the Bible seems far more concerned with answering “what” questions than “why” questions–what is the nature of reality? what is the problem with the world? what is the solution?
But there is good news for all of us that struggle against the violence of this world: Advent.
In Advent, God does not merely see our why‘s and disregard them as silly and human; he does not simply leave us to our own to wrestle and struggle and doubt. He doesn’t answer our whys. He simply looks at us and the world with compassion, acknowledges to us the way things are, and rolls up his sleeves to address it.
In Jesus’ coming at Advent–where the human and divine have found their meeting–the what of God and the why of humanity have become united. At his death, we see God himself crying out from the bloodied cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
In Advent, the God of “what” has brought our human “why” into his own divine experience.
And with the what and why of the world being joined in Jesus, he now becomes the answer to our every why. God has seen our broken and fractured world, and in Advent has become the leader in, as one writer calls it, “the parade of redemption”. And he invites us to join in, to see peace brought into this world, little by painfully little.
I know this still isn’t intellectually satisfying for our whys—I get that. But our hope in this is not that this would be found logical, but that this might be seen as beautiful.
And that it might simply be enough.
And that we might worship.
With God having come among us to bring peace in the midst of chaos, how might you be an agent of that peace today? What places in your world cry out for its why to be answered by the what of Christ, and how might you speak it to that brokenness?
This reflection is adapted from a piece I wrote a few years ago called, “to ‘why?’ is human, to ‘what’ is divine”.
[image credit: “Untitled, no. 2” by Mark Rothko]