There’s song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
there’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
~“Hymn of Promise” Natalie Sleeth
Thanks to Beth Locker for this picture
This past week we’ve been wondering about and wandering with this season of waiting. Advent calls us toward what is next. Not me, but us. Not you and me, but all of us. In these days when we hear the crowds shouting for walls to be built and human beings to be alienated, Advent calls to us. In these days when the distance between `haves and have nots’ grows larger and larger, Advent calls to us. In these days when we can find out just about anything about anything, and we don’t know the names of the people who live on our street, Advent calls to us. In these days when the earth is wailing, Advent calls to us.
Natalie Sleeth’s “Hymn of Promise” speaks well to this dusk until the dawn season of waiting. Here at the end of the calendar year so many of us are worn out with what is being shouted on the televisions and out in the streets. Us and Them are real things in our country, our communities and even our families. We know well the dusk-time of this late autumn season. We yearn for the coming of the dawn.
In her beautiful hymn we are given words to steady and guide us. Song. Melody. Dawn. Hope. Mystery. These are words that have gotten many of us here from there. These words have carried us on when we’ve lost our way. True and authentic. Present and enduring.
Can we wait until what is to be revealed comes to us? Even as I typed that question, I realized how naive the question sounds. Of course, we can wait. We are waiting now. But I think the question that could immediately follow would be: And not give up? Some days it’s harder than others to “look around” and see “how lucky we are.” Sometimes it’s harder than others to even have the faith to step out: left foot, right foot.
In singing the hymn's final verse we are graced and encouraged with our life's greater story, with God's faithful promise: “In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity; in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.” Strong words of faith. These words can travel on up ahead a little ways, and show us how to continue our journey.