How quickly our worlds have shifted from the Summer cry of 'Just chillin', (see Harvest 2017) and a God who delights in delighting in us, to one whom we discover is far more complex than we had realized.
I hadn't noticed before, and perhaps this is old news to some of you, but I was unaware each Advent season begins with apocalyptic scriptures. Stay awake, they scream in the midst of predictions of the sun darkening, the moon not light, the heavens shaking the stars from the sky. And what the heck, I wonder would the scriptures scream at me like this, when the call to Advent is to contemplate my former season of meditations, examens, prayers, relationships, in other words, my life. Really, do I have to be scared into stillness and quiet? Must I run in terror to the solace of the Holy?
We've come through an eye of the needle, those of us in this valley, and our adjoining valley, haven't we? Whether we've lost everything, or just shimmied through, we've been deeply touched by the terror, the darkening sun, the heavens shaking down the wind and fire. Our lives will never be the same. We've known what it is to leave everything and flee.
It's silent now, less traffic on the highway, more quiet amongst our community. Caring gestures, and simple 'how are you' murmurs as we greet each other. We seem more true to the moment, less preoccupied with our doing.
Yesterday I talked with a friend who, on Sunday night October 8, evacuated to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and the images of a wall of fire against the Eastern Mayacamas, and the blackness of the night reaching to the Coast, connected only by sirens that would not stop, were seared into her. I replied in horror to her imagery, "don't you wish you could get rid of those images?" "No, no," she said, "those images keep me humble, keep me there, with all the others, not just in Sonoma County, but Worldwide, who have lost everything."
Another who had lost his home and family compound emailed me that at the moment, friends and family were all he needed.
Humbled, humility may be a correct choice of descriptors for the emotional residue of our lived apocalypse. The sun did darken with smoke, the moon became non-existent...and yet, we have each other.
Come, gather with us as we pray together.Even though the images from the Advent scripture seem very real, we needn't run in terror to gain solace from the Holy. Our solace will seep in to us as we take solace in each other's presence, where the true Holy resides.