Third Sunday of Advent

I awoke this morning to something I never thought I'd see: snow. As light as caster sugar, until it turned to sludge under the brush as I wiped it off the windshields. The sky was gray, the ground clear, the air cold as death.

Two Sundays ago the land took my mind to a world of horror. Today I knew that I had arrived.

There was no psalm. We sang the First Song of Isaiah instead. I remember singing it before, or at least listening to the choir singing it. It was a different setting this week, one I had never heard before.

The lectionary in Advent is a reminder that as we proclaim the first coming of Christ, we also await his return. Zephaniah, Philippians, Luke - Luke on John the Baptist, proclaiming the winnowing fork and the fire, and that whoever has two cloaks ought to share with whoever has none. The readings are chiliastic, Messianic. Apocalyptic. Heavy on my mind today was the human cost of apocalypse.

It sat heavy on me through the homily (I didn't entirely agree, but that's nothing to complain about), through the hymns (downtempo, much less organ-heavy than last time I crossed that threshold; it would be sluggish but for Sandy Hook, which darkened the songs, sobered and sombered the hymnody), even through the Eucharist itself. I have no words to discuss it, but I wish it would be discussed.

The human cost of apocalypse.

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