ADVENT #4. It’s Time To Shed Our Cynicism.

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daily text logoDecember 4, 2015

Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 
but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with  the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

IT’S TIME TO SHED OUR CYNICISM

It’s time to train our eyes to see the beatific vision, to hone our sight on the horizon, to learn to behold the glorious feast of the future. In order to do this, we must rid ourselves of the soul’s cancer, cynicism. The cynic cloaks himself in the wise disguise of a realist. Truth be told, realism is just another name for a defeated idealism. Cynicism is the bitter fruit of a desecrated imagination. Cynicism treats the sickness of our hopelessness with the topical ointment of our thinly veiled anger.

So why do we rush to those angry, armchair dime-store prophets who can only assuage our fears by blaming the Republicans or the Democrats? Advent calls saying, “Listen to these prophets of the arduous possible. Let them encompass your weary imagination. They offer no easy solutions. They impart vision. We perish without it.” That’s what cynicism is, dead people who still have a pulse. But remember, a pulse means there’s still a possibility.

Will Be Glorious

Tiny as a secret, Lord,
dormant as seeds, you wait

the way we wait for you
to remind us what’s cut down

may not be lost forever,
but instead, slowly,

in some hidden center,
cultivating new fruit.

Some mornings our hands
feel kind as orchards, clean as

fleece. Others, we’re all
claw, yanked toward the scent

of meat. Tarnish of blood. Lord,
we long for you to lamb us

in our wrath, beast us in our apathy.
For you to bloom out, to be again

the branch—the tree itself and not
the body pinned so terribly there.

We wait, Lord, for you to gather us—
goat and leopard, wolf and calf—

in one noisy, lovely flock. For you
to overcome us, as vines consume

and sweeten a hillside. For you
to wave over the world a banner

of water, washing us whiter
than pearls, finally illuminated.

—Amy McCann

NOTE TO READERS:

In case you missed the update Sunday here’s the plan. James was the not the best idea for Advent. We will begin that Jan 1. This week, I will be running the first week of Not Yet Christmas: It’s Time for Advent, a book I put together last year. If you would like to continue through Christmas I am inviting you to get your copy of the book here (softcover or digital) Use the code DTADVENT for a 25% discount. And the offer stands, if you can’t afford a book at this time email me and I will be glad to send you a copy on the house.

Daily Text Facebook 12-04-15

THE QUESTIONS

  1. So are you ready to shed your cynicism? What would it look like to catch yourself thinking cynical thoughts and to simply discard them before they can be formed into words or even attitudes?

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J.D. Walt serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief.  jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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