January 09, 2007

John Mayer and Advent During the season of Advent waiting is a central theme. The community of Jesus’ time was waiting for the promised messiah to come. They were waiting for someone to deliver them from an oppressive political structure. There was unnecessary violence, moral religious laws trumping acts of love and justice and a veiled connection between the politically powerful and the religiously powerful. We know that Jesus was crucified by both the religious majority of his time in cahoots with the political ruler Pontius Pilot. We see politics and religion today being used in ways that go against God’s plan for us and creation. John Mayer in his song “Waiting On the World To Change” expresses frustration about the current situation and hope for something better. He begins by saying: me and all my friends we're all misunderstood they say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could now we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it we just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it so we keep waiting waiting on the world to change we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change In this season of Advent, this season of waiting, what does this song say about us? John claims that he is not alone in being misunderstood and “waiting for the world to change”. What kind of waiting do people of faith do? What did our ancestors do while waiting for the messiah? Is there such a thing as active waiting? How does “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” resonate with John Mayer’s description of how he and all his friends are waiting? John goes on to say in the last verse of his song: and we're still waiting waiting on the world to change we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change one day our generation is gonna rule the population so we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change This quote is very interesting: “our generation is gonna rule the population”? What kind of power do people of God have to bring about change in the world today? How does prayer fit into the picture? Is God involved at all in changing the world or do we put our trust in rulers? Do we put our trust in ourselves (“one day our generation is gonna rule the population”)? In response to this popular song what will we proclaim about how the people of God are waiting? O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Emerging Confessions Part One In his book on emerging or progressive Christianity, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg questions whether "sin" is the best term for describing our human condition before God. His argument isn't merely theological, but liturgical: "The nearly universal liturgical element of 'confession of sin and absolution' might be replaced or complemented by a 'declaration of what ails us and God's promise to us'" (p. 170). He continues in a note: "I am not suggesting these exact words as 'liturgical headings.' I would hope more elegant phrases could be found, but I am suggesting the notion that lies behind these words" (p. 185, n. 8). Following is one attempt at more elegant phrasing for several of the images Borg mines from the Bible to describe our condition. Confession of Blindness and Promise of Illumination God of Light, we confess that our vision is impaired. Your presence is lost to us in the shadows of our world and the darkness of our hearts. We look, yet we do not see, blind to the daily opportunities to praise you and serve others. Restore our sight, we pray, in the name of Christ whose vision of your kingdom come, led him on the path of salvation. God who commanded light to shine out of darkness has sent Christ as the light of the world. He remains with us in the Holy Spirit, and promises that those who seek will surely find. In Jesus Christ, our eyes are open. Amen. Recognition of Exile and Hope of Restoration God, alone in whom our hearts find their rest, we have awakened to find ourselves far from home. Our paths have led us away from you. We feel lonely and fear we are abandoned. Here, your word seems foreign to us, and we struggle to sing the songs of heaven. In your faithfulness, show us your presence once again, that we, too, may rejoice with all who call upon your name. We have a good shepherd who searches for lost sheep. The Spirit of God still blows through the wilderness and prays for us. The sacred testimony gives us this hope; God delivers us in Christ. Amen. Admission of Bondage and Words of Deliverance Listening God, hear our cries. We are not free. We have enslaved ourselves and others to debt and despair. We are bound by vain desires, and our liberty to love is curtailed by bad habits. Our emotions hold us hostage to wrongs, real and imagined. In our bondage we are less than what you call us to be. Hear and answer us, we pray, in the name of him who came to set prisoners free. The God of the Israelites has shown us the way of exodus. Forsaking what lies behind, we follow our liberating Lord. When we are weak in faith and strength, the Holy Spirit provides daily bread and springs of living water, that we may complete our journey in the land of promise. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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