Have you ever tried to express yourself and just spouted off thing after thing, like you were trying out a bunch of words like a model tries on clothes?
“What I mean is…”
“No wait, I should have said…”
“That’s not it, what I’m trying to say is…”
Sometimes I think the O Antiphons for the church are like this human propensity to just say the first thing that comes to mind, only to try again, and again, and again until we get it right.
Because we call for a Lord, for a Ruler, for the Dawn, for a Key; we call for it, but none of it quite fits.
Until today, when we say to the Divine, “What we really mean is, we just want you near.”
Or, as we cry out, “O Emmanuel!” which literally means, “God-hugged-close.”
The human longing for some unjudging love, for some Divine reassurance, for a reminder that this isn’t all just going to crap is ancient and ever-present and, Beloved, if there’s a year we need it, 2020 is it.
As philosopher and theologian Karl Rahner says,
“It is both terrible and comforting to dwell in the inconceivable nearness of God, and so to be loved by God that the first and last gift is infinity and inconceivability itself. But we have no choice. God is with us.” (from Meditations on Home and Love, 1977)
In what ways do you know the Divine…however you might define that…as being close? How is God far away? When you cry out, “Come, Emmanuel!” what do you imagine that will mean for your life?
What if it’s already true?
Spin what I think is probably the most incarnational song that ever became a pop hit, Osborne’s “What if God was One of Us” as you ponder the idea that God can be close again this year…is close again, this year.