Nouwen skillfully explores the fear and anxiety of waiting while highlighting the fact that all of the characters in Luke's gospel are waiting for something that has already been promised to them. The spiritual life, according to Nouwen, is "one in which we wait," but our waiting is done best when we wait together.
Observing the interaction between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, Nouwen writes,
These two women created space for each other to wait. They affirmed
for each other that something was happening that was worth waiting for.
Then he adds,
. . . The whole meaning of the Christian community lies in offering a space
in which we wait for that which we have already seen. Christian community
is the place where we keep the flame alive among us and take it seriously,
so that it can grow and become stronger among us. In this way we can live
in courage, trusting that there is a spiritual power in us that allows us to live in
this world without ebbing seduced constantly by despair, lostness and darkness.
That is how we dare to say that God is a God of love even when we see
hatred all around us. That is why we can claim that God is a God of life even
when we see death and destruction and agony all around us.
We say it together.
Waiting together, nurturing what has already begun, expecting its fulfillment -
that is the meaning of marriage, friendship, community and the Christian life.
What can I say but that I'm so grateful to be able to share some links with you, to help you gather together with those who are making spaces all across the web where we can wait together. Take a few minutes to check them out. Maybe you will find a new friend, a companion for the journey, or maybe even just a word to carry you like a light through the season ahead.
Diana Trautwein, a retired pastor and active Spiritual Director is writing daily reflections on scripture over at her blog, Just Wondering. Diana's bold voice and captivating use of images will draw you in.
John D. Blase is a poet, editor and former pastor who writes at The Beautiful Due. His poem, Walk Straight, has been my theme this advent season and he just posted a new reflection on the song, Silent Night, that will simply knock your socks off.
John Blase is joining with Winn Collier to write weekly reflections on a lectionary reading for advent every Monday. Winn's is one of my never-miss blogs, one I'm sure to click on, and I can't think of anyone better gifted to explore the mingling of human and divine made evident in the stories of the nativity.
I've also been following Christie Purifoy's blog There Is A River, where she's offering brief daily poems, prayers and reflections.
Are you or someone you know writing your way through the season? I'd love to hear about it, feel free to add your own favorite links in the comments section below. Enjoy!