A Meditation on Holy Waiting: A little something for Advent.

(Here in the little town on the bay at the edge of the big water the Rector of all Lewes decided it was my turn to preach on Advent 4. Well, thing is what the good people got by way of a meditation. If it serves you well, wonderful. If not, there is always the trash button. May your Advent time find you filled with wonder in the waiting. )

 To God alone be glory: Amen.
This is a little meditation filled with “I” language. 
The “I” is me, but maybe too it is You. 
This song is yours, perhaps, even if I sing it:
Here it is:

I am waiting.
Not so much for the perfect present, either one I get or one I give.
I am waiting, but not for Santa, not for the baby to be put in the crib, not even for the Mother mild to smile at me,  not even for Jesus to return.
I am waiting , I am always waiting, for confirmation that Life and Love and Justice are real.  I believe they are, but where’s the confirmation?
And I am waiting for the daily visitation of Almighty God, not in thunder and lightening (which would scare me to death) but in a still small voice, preparing me, as the collect today says, to be a fit place for the presence of Jesus Christ the Lord.  (Some days that waiting seems confirmed, others, well, less so.)
And I am waiting for the stirring up of great power, the power of the Lord, whose stirring will be so great as to even get me into gear, and get me moving, so that I am delivered from being a lump and made alive again. Oh, I am ready and waiting.
And I am waiting for new cloths, the armor, that will make me, in this present time, a Child of the Light. 
And I am waiting for Johnny and Sally and all the other men and women in our armed forces to come marching home again hurrah, hurrah, and for war to become an oddity of history’s distant past,
And I am waiting to be, well, pregnant with hope, and good luck with that – I’m not a woman and I don’t play one on TV. But with God, anything is possible, even being like Mary, overshadowed by the power of the Most High. Maybe I too can be pregnant with hope and give birth to some new way of being in the world. Hey, with God…it is all possible.
I am waiting, I am perpetually waiting, along with Lawrence Ferlingehetti and good ol Allen Ginsberg and wacky Jack Kerouac, for the truth to sink in that nothing matters except perpetual wonder.
And I am waiting for that wonder to strike home, so that I too can follow the star to the place where The Lord God gets a body, and the body gets a life, and the life is that of God with us, and the new age is ushered in,
And I am perpetually waiting and wanting to do those things that befit the belief that God has become as one of us so that we can become one with Him.
I am waiting.
And while I am waiting, and while you are waiting, let’s not flinch from what we are waiting for:
Christmas is a wonder only so long as we understand that Christmas is about waiting, wanting and finding Jesus as Lord. I mean Jesus as God with us.
John Dominic Crossan says that it is not Jesus as Messiah that drove God believers nuts.  Messiahs were a dime a dozen. The notion that a human could be the Anointed One was perfectly understandable. There the argument was not whether Jesus could  be the Messiah, it was whether he was in fact the Messiah.  You could even call someone the son of God and get away with it, provided you didn’t push it too far.   
The thing that drove God fearers crazy was the Christian belief that Jesus is God among us, the Incarnation of the Lord God. “Jesus is Lord” meant in the way that “God is Lord of all”  was a step over the line.
Ho, ho ho.  It was at least heresy, ascribing to a human the character, and more, the essence of God. More, it was blasphemy.
Now there’s a wonder worth the waiting.  If we are going to do it, do it with gusto. There’s a heresy worth the having: God, the great thunderer, or even the small still voice, was always the great OTHER the judge, the creator, the beginning and end, (or even Father in a manly and distant sort of way.)  God, the one and only God, was totally other, and no particular bit of protoplasm need apply. And here comes Jesus,  Blasphemy on the hoof. God in the flesh.
What we have been perpetually waiting for is for the truth of all this to come home and smack us in the head and heart: 
I want to know God close enough so that we can be touched, held close, nurtured. God can be our nurturer.  And I want to be a child of God, held and nurtured. We can be like little children. 
I want to experience that God is not dead, God is bread, and the bread is rising. We can be hungry for God. We can eat God and be nourished, and grow with God as part of us.
I want to imagine God present to us as a baby who must be protected by a caring Mother, and we can like Mary, be a source of comfort to the Judge of All, and whisper in God’s ear, “let it be, let it be, “ and rub God’s back until the little gas burp comes.  If God is among us, we can imagine that we, like Mary, can comfort the infleshed God with us. As God comforts us, we can comfort God.
I want to believe that God can walk the streets and visit in people’s homes and be found among the shanty towns of Manila and Nairobi, and with the saints at work or at tea, and that when Bishop Packard climes over the fence into Trinity Church’s park an gets arrested and hauled off to jail God is sitting right next to him, chatting him up.  I want to know we can meet God in others, the saints, and be one too, and God can be in us. I want to know that, just as God is present in the saints, we can be saints of God too.
The rebirth of wonder is always worth the waiting:
Christmas is a turning point.
We know in Christmas that the waiting is worth it,  that we wait in patience for our eyes to be opened and for wonder to be realized, and we are made whole for a whole new world.
This business of Christmas is about the wonder and the waiting fulfilled.
The rebirth of wonder is worth the wait, but still Lord Jesus, come quickly.
I am waiting, but Lord the meter is running.
Come quickly.
I’m patient, but Lord, we could use a little justice, mercy, life and love just now.
Be born in our hearts today.  AMEN.


  1. Mark, this rocks! It has me in tears. So much to think about, mull over, pray about. You did good. You did real good!

  2. Excellent Mark! The little Church in the town by the big waters is most blessed to have you our midst!

  3. Mark,
    What a wonderful post. As I read it, I was singing Hymn #65 "Prepare the way of Zion" which we have sung all of Advent at St. David's Wilmington. Your post resonated with me of this my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.
    Thank you.
    Jim Von Dreele

  4. beautiful words dear mark

  5. Ah, and now I really AM sorry I didn't head out to St. Peter's this morning. This is wonder-full, awe-full, power-full.

    I love you so much!

  6. Dear Fr Harris

    On the thread below this one someone is simply commandeering the names of respondents and using them to comment under and make prank links (and insert new names, etc).

    So 'Msgr' now is everyone.



OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.