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  • Jason Gaskin

Where is God? Where are you?

255,000 deaths in the US due to Covid-19. Someone’s loved one. Most of us know people who have died or been affected by the coronavirus. And it is devastating.

Devastating would be a good way to describe this year. Compounding upon this is the continued election drama.

We are all stressed and anxious. Those who see the world the way I do and those that don’t. Stressed. Anxious.

Stress and anxiety are no respecters of persons.

If one is happy… the other isn’t. Sounds like my kids…

We now can guess who you voted for president if you wear a mask or not.

And where is God in the midst of this chaos? And where are you?

The lectionary text for the first week of Advent comes from Mark 13. This isn’t the story we read to our children. It doesn’t have the elements of Advent and Christmas.

Jesus is forecasting to the disciples that a time is coming when the temple will be no more. God had a place… and it was the temple. As long as the temple stood… God was and is with us. It was the heart of social, political, and religious life.

God was predictable.

We didn’t have to search too hard for God.

And Jesus was telling his disciples that a time was coming when the temple would be rubble.

Where will God be then? And what does that mean for us?

What an image for a season of life for those of us that attended church in a church building when we no longer could attend.

We, like them, are struggling to perceive a faith absent from the building.

Where is God? Where are you?

Advent is about waiting and expectation. The story begins in Isaiah when Isaiah prophesies to a king that a “child shall be born”. The challenge at that moment is how to defeat the rising enemies. And God’s offer was a vulnerable child… that would come… not now… but later.

God’s answer to impending darkness was vulnerability.

And this child wasn’t born in a castle but in a humble stable out of the view of all with the exception of foreign sages and lowly shepherds.

God came when no one was looking or expected veiled in the darkness of night.

God is mysterious. You can’t pin God down.

John Milton wrote a poem called Comus in the 17th century. For which he said this…

“I see ye visibly, and now believe

That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,

Would send a glistering guardian, if need were

To keep my life and honour unassailed.

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud

Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

I did not err; there does a sable cloud

Turn forth her silver lining on the night,

And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.”

The silver lining of the cloud helped us to see that what seems to be pure darkness is never devoid of light or possibility. “Casts a gleam over this tufted grove…”

Where is God? Where are you?

There have been a few times that parishioners have asked, “why don’t we see miracles?”

Maybe it’s that we look in all the wrong places.

Maybe it isn’t in the cosmic event of life that God comes… but maybe in the dark and mundane.

I know that isn’t what we want to hear. We want to hear a dualistic, absolute answer. And there isn’t one.

For me? My silver lining in clouds? They come often in simple ordinary moments.

One of those moments was a few nights ago when I was putting my son Isaac to sleep. This is special because for the last few months he hasn’t let me put him to bed and read him a book. At the end of the book, we clasp our hands together and pray what millions have prayed generations past, “Our Father…” I lay him down. Tuck him in. I make sure he has everything he needs. He likes his water, Olaf, Eyeore, and fan on. I checked all the boxes… said “I love you.” And I walked out of the room. Then he screams. I walk back in and ask him what he needs.

“Daddy you forgot hug and kiss.”

It’s all I needed.

Where is God? Where are you?

Where is the silver lining in the midst of this chaos or what seems like hell?

God is here in these moments breathing life and light into our darkness. Or reminding us, “daddy you forgot hug and kiss.”


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