Eddie offered our reflection this week for the Second Sunday of Advent focusing on Isaiah 40:1-11 and Mark 1:1-8, telling us stories of suffering and comfort. In the midst of the Advent season, the noise around us can too quickly drown out our attempts at silence, the noise in many ways becomes our wilderness, but the wilderness is important. Eddie reminds us that this wilderness is the beginning as well as the heart of the gospel (as we see specifically with Mark which begins with a quote from Isa 40).
Here we learn that the wilderness is not a disembodied “spiritual” reality, but rather going to the wilderness means a great leveling, a cry for justice, and a sitting with those who have no justice. Meeting Jesus in the wilderness is meeting with those who are marginalized and poor, thinking together how we might upend the structures of injustice that structure the “civilized” world. Indeed, Isaiah tells us that the mountains will be brought low and the valleys filled, the division, injustice, and inequity that structures the world will be overcome, and Advent is our reflection on the justice we long for.
But the first words of this prophecy, at the same time, speaks of comfort. God pledges to be with those who are suffering. There is comfort in being together. There is comfort in sitting with one another. Eddie leads us to reflect on this justice and comfort in his own remembrances of Ruby Sales and his mother. And, finally, he closed us with this prayer and hope:
“May we venture into the wilderness this Advent with expectant hearts preparing ourselves to meet God in our suffering and emerge with a renewed commitment to bring about the leveling of uneven ground and an increased capacity to comfort all who suffer.”
For convenience sake, there is also a podcast available. You can find that here.