Advent Prose Revisited
Rend the heavens, come quickly down –
Can we mean it? In the dark
to ask the God to come like this
would have us tremble at the presence
sought that Sunday as we sang.
Behold, thou wast angry and we sinned –
dear God, we try, we know our sin,
we see too clearly where we are.
The veiled women weep, the bomb
explodes on distant soil:
we worry lest our own are there,
care less about the ruined lives
among the debris of our wars.
All our deeds are like a polluted garment -
hung about us in the cold
as if we fear our nakedness,
would do anything to hide.
The child dies at the hands of those
whose task is care and love
while we, appalled, avert our eyes
from innocence betrayed.
We all fade like a leaf
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away –
light little things in the face of creation
and yet, and yet …
Lord, we continue. You have never
swept us from the face of earth.
We love and beget and children
lovely children, innocent and clean
come naked into the world
in your eternal promise of what can be.
Your Son will come, again, again
and we have hope, another chance
to use your world in precious ways
to hold your people to your face.
As tiny fingers clasp round ours
we reach into the dark and feel
the strength of love enfolding us.
The heavens are rent as if a cloud
were parted at the end of rain
and light will come too bright to tell –
we sing again. Come, Lord, and soon.
I wrote this some years ago - it's undated, so I can only guess it was perhaps 2008 - in response to the Advent Prose, the ancient plainsong hymn which we had in church this morning, Advent Sunday. If it's something you're familiar with, you'll recognise that the bits in italics are the original words; the rest is a reaction, an enlargement for our time.
The candles are on the Advent wreath in Holy Trinity Dunoon.