Isaiah 64: 1-9
On this first Sunday of Advent, Advent begins with a prayer of the prophet Isaiah that is both a lament and a plea, a lament to God who hid oneself and had hidden God’s face from the people of Israel, and a plea for God’s visible and powerful actions.
I believe God’s refusal to replicate a Red-sea-type deliverance does not mean that God had abandoned the Israelites and us.
Our hope does not rely on God’s acting today in the same ways God acted in the ancient stories, but it does rely on God’s being the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow—a God who hears our cries, a God who does not abandon us, and a God who loves us and comes to us each and every day.
What I want to focus on in this passage is that we are the clay, not the potter, reminding us that God’s presence is not something we can demand, that God’s job is not to reward our devotion. What is more, God’s agenda may be quite different from our own.
If we may not see God, if we cannot hear God, if we may feel in silence, it is because we have strayed far from God’s presence. It is because we have forsaken God’s way. It is because we are ignoring God’s presence. That means God is not the one who has forsaken us. God is not the one who is ignoring us.
If we may feel that God is silenced in 2020 in such a challenging year, we should begin our journey of Advent pointing the finger at ourselves, not at God.
Advent is a season of wailing and weeping, of opening up our lives, our souls, with active anticipation and renewed hope in these uncertain times. So, Advent is not just a feel-good-period, but a be-good-period and do-good-period. Recognizing God’s presence may be our daily task, especially given the world in which we live in during these times of uncertainty.
We are certain that God breaks the silence and have even given us the words, “Here I am.”
We are certain that God will be visible once again when we wait for God with hope, demanding of us a passionate patience, not a passive one.
We are certain that God will watch us even if we do not watch him; God will hear our voice and cry, even if we might think God is hidden. Amen.