What does Advent hope look like today?
When I heard yesterday about the mistrial in Charleston and the one juror’s inability to make a decision about Michael Slager’s response in the shooting death of Walter Scott, I was deeply troubled. I wondered how much more suffering needs to happen in the City of Charleston. I thought, “Why God is justice so hard to come by in this world?”
Then I heard the interviews of Walter’s mother, Judy Scott, who said, “I am not sad because I know justice will be served. I know God and God is a God of justice!” Suddenly it dawned on me the answer to my questions: What does Advent hope look like? It looks like a grieving mother who dares to say with courage and confidence words that could only come from God, “I am not sad because I know justice will be served!”
How often in scripture God uses the voices of those living at the margins of society to announce God’s coming reign. Most of the prophets lived on the margins of their societies. A poor, pregnant girl named Mary, a bunch of no-name shepherds also were outsiders to the power structures of their day. And yet God spoke powerful words of justice, hope and new possibilities through their lives about the coming of Jesus Christ into our world.
Will Willimon once said, “Christian hope is fundamentally different from optimism. Christian hope locks its steady eyes on the devastation of the world around it and readily acknowledges that things might not get better. Christian hope does not bury its head in yule tide cheer and artificial lights, but like an advent wreath glowing stronger and brighter each week, this hope pushes its way into the brokenness of the world, clearing a path in the wilderness so the true light might burst into the darkness.”
For me this Advent season, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord,” is Judy Scott, a grieving mother, daring to announce that justice will come!
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Bishop Herman Yoos