As I began writing these Advent devotionals in March, we—like thousands of others—were under COVID-19 “shelter in place” orders. And now we’re back to similar restrictions. My March Questions are just as relevant today: Where will I be when Advent begins on November 29th? Will I still be healthy? How will my life have changed? How do I view God from this pivotal point of uncertainty? Will my view of God change if I and my family become victims of disease? Will what I write in March still have meaning in December? Someone once said that no coincidences exist in following Jesus. Do I believe that in March? Will I believe it during Advent?
The pandemic and my writing began in the middle of Lent, a season reserved for reflection and repentance. My Lenten reading was from Dr. Walter Brueggemann’s A Way Other Than Our Own, and I found many of his words as relevant in Advent as in Lent:
In this season…O God, unsettle us…
We are in a season of new life, but now it is time for passion, suffering, death, denial repentance.
The church is always at its most daring and risking and dangerous and free when it sings a new song.
…scarcity is enough when it is shared…
Ours is a time like the flood, like the exile, when the certitudes abandon us, the old reliabilities have become unsure, and “things fall apart.” …We grow more strident, more fearful, more anxious, more greedy for our own way, more despairing, and, consequently, more brutal.
…In the midst of troubled times, be with us, God of well being.