“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
From Homebrewed Christianity.
What we do is pretend that we have hope, and joy, and love. What we yearn for is what stands under those names. Hope and joy and love, but which we dare not hope for. Advent is a time when we have a chance, if we want to take the chance, of getting in touch with what we deeply yearn for and do not have. We live in a culture of optimism, that thinks that things are going to turn out well, and yet we know in spite of all of that that things do not, in fact, turn out well. We all die. We all experience disappointment, destruction in our personal and familial lives. And yet we think that’s the way things are. We console ourselves with that is what is part of our life, part of reality.
I think one of the things that Jesus does when he comes into Gallilee preaching and goes ultimately to Jerusalem is to tell people not to take reality lying down. Not to take what is real, what is actual, what is possible, what is factual as what is given, but to awake in them this wild, crazy desire. Yearning, which is always already there, for that which is impossible. For bodies to be healed. For the brokenness to be brought into wholeness. For the disasters of our world to turn into actual peace.
And Advent is a time when we can say “That’s not enough. That’s not good enough. That’s not REAL enough. What we want is something that far exceeds what is within our grasp, what is within our experience.” It is only if we really enter into Advent that we can be surprised, astonished, blown away by the coming of that which so far exceeds what is possible, what is programmable that we can actually break loose in tongues, in rejoicing, in rejoicing that has no words.
There are those who are poor, who are broken, who are destroyed everyday who can sing and sigh and yearn, “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” Can we? Dare we? That is the challenge and the promise of Advent.
It is not clear that life can be construed beyond the Empire… But the poets… have to try. Because they are poets. Because they are poets they never arrive, for poetry would then be a program, and they’re not doing programs. That does not render the poetry as failure or irrelevance.
Skream – “Listenin’ To The Records On My Wall” (contains artistic use of boobies, so no watching at work, people!)
While at Bonnaroo my partner and I wore “Free Hugs” T-shirts and gave hugs to anyone who asked. The whole experience was fun, but two moments in particular really stand out.
The first of those moments was the first hug I gave where the other person really put all of herself into the hug. You know what I’m talking about. A quick squeeze and a pat on the back is nice, but that deep warmth we feel when someone really hugs with their whole body and is fully present and committed to the act… that’s divine. And she came in for a hug and we wrapped our arms around each other and we both just held on firmly and gently. As we slowly let go she said “Oh, you give good hugs!”
“So do you!” I exclaimed.
From there we went into a short conversation about why we were going around giving hugs. She said if she was doing it it would be to make other people feel good. I told her that part was nice, but in all honesty I was doing it because I liked hugs, and because it was a way to make sure I actually got my quiet, sometimes shy self interacting with other people at the fest. We went our separate ways, and I didn’t see her again, but that hug still lingers. I can feel the warm echoes of in my arms.
The second was another fully committed hug. In the midst of it the man I was hugging said with all sincerity, “I love you, brother.” And it was just real and beautiful, and something I’ve returned to in my mind a few times since.
I love you.