“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25
A little girl, maybe three years old, roamed an ever-slightly-increasing radius from her mom and dad, her infant brother strapped into a carrier on daddy’s back, perched atop the crowd. Ok, back it up.
Waiting with patience in the advent sensibility is quite a different way of Being than is complacency. On Sunday evening a rally was held in Portland’s Monument Square to affirm in a show of solidarity that everyday Mainers will not submit to literal or figurative doors, gates, fences or walls being erected to stand in the way of refugees desperately in need of care and compassion.
Maybe a few hundred Mainers. Maybe a thousand. Maybe if an announcement hadn’t been made at church I would’ve been clueless about the event and been home sipping scotch, watching “60 Minutes,” my ass imprint further indenting the cozy chair cushion, shaking my head at the awful mess of a world.
It’s a week in which Christians inch closer – perhaps like me, often impatient and distracted by the busy-ness – toward the story of a wandering family, a baby born in a barn because finally someone said, well, I guess you can crash here for the night.
It’s a week in which Jews celebrate a festival of lights, a miracle of hope in the midst of a losing battle, the big battle “lost,” but hope found in an underdog revolt.
A little girl, maybe three years old, roamed an ever-slightly-increasing radius from her mom and dad, her infant brother strapped into a carrier on daddy’s back, perched atop the crowd. His eyes-wide-with-curiosity would snap even larger with the frequent bursts of applause, the communal exclamation points punctuating microphone declarations. The girl making more new adult friends with her smiles and chin-up stares. Face aglow with the red illuminated light bulbs that framed her white poster board sign, whose message, written in fine red marker, in a fine-but-newly-found child’s print, read: I welcome refugees
I am grateful to her and her brother and their parents, as they Help Hope Happen.
(“Help Hope Happen” or “Helping Hope Happen” is a phrase I began using about a decade ago. It has been applied as the title to more than one sermon, short story, and has been incorporated into prayers and missives along the way. It doesn’t exist in a human vacuum, personal or communal, but aspires to recognize that in mutuality with the Great Mystery, people living in love, can change the world, whether we know it or not. Of course, my living it, living into it, is another matter altogether.)