By Regina Shands Stoltzfus, professor of peace, justice & conflict studies
This week’s theme: Dare to imagine God’s face!
Life is messy. Unpredictable. Often downright hard. As we cycle into the end of the second pandemic year, these realities are painfully close. This week’s texts span a range of human experiences and emotions – they speak of the messiness and uncertainty of life, interspersed with promises of God’s presence and action. The cycle of texts includes Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, both women unexpectedly on the threshold of becoming parents.
Advent’s promise of “God with Us” is conveyed through a deep sense of longing and a certain weariness. The people are tired, tired of enemies, of strife, of persistent injustice. In 2021, we can relate. We long for relief, for justice.
Our advent texts also remind us that “God with us” is a multilayered phenomenon, not only spirit but tangible, touchable and embodied. The Holy One speaks through the cries of the prophet and the psalmist who cry out for relief, and for justice. And God also is with us in a way that Mary and Elizabeth come to know intimately as they await the births of their children. God shares God’s self in human form. God shows God’s face. “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” May it be so.