The Twelfth Day of Advent
December 13, 2019
WOULDN’T IT BE GRAND TO BE AN ANGEL?
Wouldn’t it be grand to be an angel
and have as your address
“The Realms of the Glory of God”?
And swing on rainbows
and gather stars in your pockets,
winging in and out of earth
in a flurry of moondust
with the messages of God?
Comforting the distressed, warning the righteous
delivering the just, guarding little children?
Of course, we can comfort and warn
and deliver and guard.
Maybe, if we get that right,
we can swing on rainbows later.
— Ann Weems
I have to say that this morning I really feel as if I could swing on rainbows. I was released by Mayo Clinic today after my kidney transplant on November 12th, and I am happy to be going home to Macon. I have missed my friends, my Sunday School class, my family and my church family. And my kitty, of course, who probably wonders where we’ve been for a whole month!
Ann Weems’ poem today speaks of angels swinging on rainbows, gathering stars in their pockets, winging in and out of earth in a flurry of moon dust sharing God’s message. And then there is the work of comforting the distressed, warning the righteous, delivering the just and guarding little children. The poet’s overarching question is this: “Wouldn’t it be grand to be an angel and have as your address ‘The Realms of the Glory of God’”?
Wouldn’t it? The grace-filled truth is that God has gifted each of us with ministries of comforting the distressed, bringing sight to the blind, offering hope to those who have lost hope, guarding little children and hundreds of other works of compassion. We are the hands and feet of God — of Christ — in our world. I am always moved by this quote by Joseph B. Clower from his book, The Church in the Thought of Jesus. This is my imperfect recollection of his words:
If the Living Christ is not confined, then our hearts are moved with his compassion, our hands are coarsened with his labor, our feet are wearied with his walking among humanity.
In some way of holy mystery, when our hands reach out in compassion, we become the incarnation of Christ in the world. Advent is about incarnation, God incarnate in Jesus. In turn, Jesus left us as his embodiment — chosen, ordained, empowered to do the works that he did when he walked among us.
. . . The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (Matthew 14:12 NRSV)
And so Advent’s message urges us to do the work of angels and, yes, the works that Jesus did in his years on earth. What a divine and holy calling this is — sharing compassion, giving hope, comforting, caring, giving, working for justice, offering mercy. On top of that, Advent hints that we might also gather a few stars in our pockets, winging in and out of earth in a flurry of moon dust.
Swinging on rainbows is a possibility, too.
That just might be a glorious way
to journey through Advent 2019!