An Advent Reflection
The theme of the second week of Advent in our parish is “The Promise of the Spirit” from last Sunday’s readings. Today’s advent verse is from the prophet Ezekiel who was among those taken to Babylon as prisoner/exiles ten years before the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 bce and preached in Babylon both before and after the fall. Though the nation fell because it had neglected God’s commands to do justice and mercy, God promised there would yet be a future for the people.
A new heart I will give you,
and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh. —Ezekiel 36:26
Rocks are rocks. Sometimes stunning and beautiful, but still rocks. Cold. Lifeless. Knocking against each other but never connecting. They feel no compassion. They respond to no voice.
A real heart is a messy affair. Surging, beating, fluttering before beauty, falling in love, weeping with those who weep. A real heart has passion, connection. It believes and trusts. It chooses fidelity.
It is painful to watch when hearts grow cold. Painful to witness in others. Painful to acknowledge in ourselves. Cold hearts bang against each other like rocks.
“From these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham,” says John the Baptizer. It is a challenge to those who are a little too certain God is on their side, but it also echoes the promise that God can change our hardened hearts into living, beating, loving, faithful hearts.
Come Lord Jesus. Come and cheer our hearts by thine advent here.
PS Don’t let it bother you. I know that the real line of “O Come, O Come Immanuel” is “O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer Our spirits by thine advent here.”
I also apologize that this devotion is a day late, reflecting on the verse for yesterday. Some days are like that.