Advent Door 4: Yearning and Resistance

The Advent Door Reading Plan
Day 4 Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9

Scripture Summary:
The prophet cries out for God’s presence- a presence so tremendous it shakes the mountains and the people down to their foundations. The cry includes an accusation that God is hiding.

It might be easy to chide the writer for accusing God of hiding when, in fact, the people of Israel seem to have been the ones turning their faces from God. Yet I know that very impulse in my own self, am well acquainted with the part of me that yearns for God even at the same time that I put up resistance.
– Jan Richardson, Through the Advent Door

I think my friend Jan has been spying on me. (Creep’n on me as my teenager would say.) Just this week I’ve been struggling with yearning for and yet resisting God’s presence and boom!, here’s today’s reading. Time to stop, literally and spiritually, and do some soul searching. Here’s what I found so far.

Pull – Push
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Yearning – Resisting
Advancing – Retreating
Come Near – Go Away
I want You close- but only so far
Devoted – Disconnected
Inviting – Hiding
Proclaiming – Denying
How can You stomach my sin-sick dance?
Pull – Push
Pull – Push
Pull – Push
A Tug of War within myself
A far from healthy ride on the spiritual swing set

You do not hide or stray or sleep
You are near and want to be known
Yet, who can abide in Your incisive presence?
Your holiness tears open my carefully crafted persona
Your glory rips back my paper thin piety
Your presence exposes
Your disclosure ruptures
Its soul shaking
I fear falling apart
Overwhelmed by Your glory

Isaiah knows what I mean
So close – too close – to the fullness of You
and … GLORY
The moment is thick with holy shouting and holy smoke
Tearing, Quaking, Trembling, Boiling
I am lost
My lips… unclean
My life… uneven
My soul…
My Lord…

Here am I…

We pull together
We push away my fears and falsehoods
In your grace I arise from the quaking
The sway made still

O Little Town of Bethlehem by Phillips Brooks
United Methodist Hymnal #230, verse 1, 3, 4

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
o come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

The Advent mystery is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ.
-Thomas Merton

This year’s Advent reflections are inspired by the e-book Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas [Kindle Edition] by author and artist Jan Richardson. In the style of a classic Advent calendar, Jan offers twenty five reflections, each with an original piece of art. Consider this your invitation to join me and Jan on this journey to Christmas. – Lisa <><

For more information on the Christian season of Advent, click here

Push – Pull © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this poem in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

1 thought on “Advent Door 4: Yearning and Resistance

  1. This reminds me of “The Fall” from Gungor. The chorus sings “Turn your face to me” over and over. I still can’t figure out whether it’s God singing or us singing, but it seems as though in each day of my journey, it could be something different. Today it was me singing and He said, “I’m right here”.

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