Our theme this Advent season is Mystery. It’s a powerful word and idea. It’s the kind of word that demands more words, to get to the bottom of it. Or, the surrender of all words, silence, to confess there is no bottom. “Be still…,” Psalm 46:10. “No one knows…,” Matthew 24:36
This week I reopened Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and she says, “Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery…We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”
At CMC, we approach faith not as a path to certainty, but faith as a way of living with mystery. A way of going about life that beholds the depth of things, while acknowledging that we are “a faint tracing on the surface of mystery.”
Advent invites us to “wail the right question” as well as “choir the proper praise,” as best our trembling voices are able. There’s something beautiful that happens when this is done in a congregation of people. Especially when some of those people have been singing four part harmony their whole lives (I’m not one those)! Being saved from our own isolation is part of experiencing the mystery of Christ.
This Sunday we will be guided by the words of Isaiah 11:1-10 – the peaceable kingdom – and Matthew 3:1-12 – the prophet out in the wilderness calling for repentance.