I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to have a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Advent is called the “season of waiting,” and for the church that means specifically for the coming Messiah who we find in the manger at Christmas. But Advent, when it’s done well, is also practice for all of those other “seasons of waiting” that we have in our lives: waiting for birth, for death, for a job, for graduation, or, as in the quote above, for justice.
Brother Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks of God’s liberating promise that we hold dear at Christmas as not just a liberation from sin, but also a liberation from all the trappings of sin in our world, including the trappings of prejudice and racism and discrimination.
We know, on this side of history, that he won’t make it to see “the promised land,” as this dream is not yet fully realized. But today, in these days of Advent waiting, he reminds us to take time to wait intentionally, with a hopeful heart. We do not struggle in vain!
- What are you waiting for in this season? Lift it up in prayer to God.
- How can you reach out to someone else who is also waiting for something in these Advent days? Take action!
Let us pray. Loving God, we know that in all things we wait in your good timing. We pray today for you to be with us in our waiting, to not let us lose heart, and to help us to continue to work hard to make real the vision of peace that you have for all people. Do not tarry! We wait for you! Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).