The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your WAY;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Today, Ferguson overshadowed everything in my community. Though the news of the grand jury’s refusal to indict came out a week ago, today was the first time we gathered to worship, eat, learn, and study together, and before we got to any of that, we had to talk about Ferguson first.
In worship today, we read through the “O” Antiphons of Advent–the seven names by which we call Christ to us:
O Sapientia! O, Wisdom.
O Adonai! O, Lord.
O Radix! O, Root.
O Clavis! O, Key.
O Oriens! O, Dayspring.
O Rex! O, King.
O Emmanuel! O, God among us:
These are not so much names as groaning prayers, uttered by a world that needs renewing, and needs it now.
Maybe the first step in preparing the way is admitting how deeply we stand in need of repentance. Repentance for participation in systems that are broken, that perpetuate brokenness, and that are not sufficiently moved by the breaking of black bodies to enact meaningful change.
Maybe preparing the way this Advent looks like the students of my community who refused to lay down beneath the overcast grey of Ferguson, and walked out instead.
In worship today, we learned that the first letters of the “O” Antiphons, read backwards, spell ERO CRAS: Latin for “tomorrow I come.”
May it be so. O come, please come, Emmanuel.