12/16/2012

gaudete

Today is Gaudete Sunday. To our Advent lineup we add the candle of Joy. Often pink or light blue instead of the darker advent color like the other candles, it symbolizes that the Light is growing in the midst of the darkness. We've passed the halfway point. Christmas is almost here. The wait is almost over.

"Gaudete" is the imperative plural form of the Latin verb gaudere (to rejoice). It is a command ordering us to rejoice. And in the various liturgies the emphasis is on rejoicing always. No matter what.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

A lot of people are finding it tough today to light a candle of Joy while we mourn another shooting. But the darkness we're feeling so keenly makes the command all the more important, I suppose.

In between all the rallying cries for gun control and vehement declarations of "my cold, dead hands," my twitter and facebook feeds had quiet reminders to just let all that go for a bit and grieve. Mourn with those who mourn. Acknowledge that we are in a dark space filled with all kinds of evil and that it hurts to be here.

Many people called out, like the earliest Christians, "Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!" We often say that as a plea for rescue, "Calgon! Take me away!" We pray, essentially, "Come on Jesus! Come in Glory; Kick some ass; and GET. ME. OUT OF HERE!"

But, of course, it doesn't work like that. We don't just get to snap our fingers and make it all go away. It's not about kicking ass. It never has been. And we don't get to just stick our fingers in our ears, close our eyes, and La-la-la-la our way out of this mess. We, and our broken hearts, have to somehow live in the wreckage.

And, apparently, rejoice. Because the Lord is near. Especially to the brokenhearted.

And not just the mothers in Conneticut, but the ones in Darfur.

And Detroit.

And Haiti.

And Palestine.

...

The miracle is not that He rescues us out of this world someday, but joins us in it now. In our pain. In our confusion. In our fear and darkness and despair. He weeps with us and suffers with us. Now.

Other people in my twitter stream quoted the only O Antiphon we still sing, which ironically includes a command to rejoice because God With Us shall (has) come. I've always liked this song. The key sounds sad and majestic to me. Perfect song for this Gaudete Sunday.

Come Lord Jesus.

The Lord is near.

Rejoice.

 ~ ~ ~

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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