O come, Desire of nations,
bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
The best laid plans. The obviously haven’t been any posts on this blog on Friday or Saturday. Who takes on an extra blogging challenge the week before Christmas? Maybe I’ll get all the O Antiphons in next year, but I’m at least happy that I have time today to reflect on the O Antiphon that takes us all the way from Advent to the Last Supper.
Here, just three sleeps until the coming of the Messiah, we find ourselves in the upper room with Jesus and his disciples on the night of his betrayal as he utters that painful and powerful high priestly prayer, “That they all may be one.” As followers of the King of Peace, we have a lot to learn about being “one.” There’s some truth to the well worn joke:
A man was stranded on a desert island, all by himself for years and years. When a ship happened upon him, he was eager to show his rescuers how he had survived for so long. On the island, there were three buildings. “The first,” he said, “is my home.” “The second,” he continued, “is my Church.” “And what about the third?” they asked. “Oh that,” he replied, “that’s the church I used to go to.”
Following Jesus has, in many ways, become another marketplace for personal preference. “I like hymns!’ “No, I like praise music.” “That guy can’t preach well.” “She really knows how to speak to me.” “Yay justice!” “Boo works righteousness.” What were once issues of theology have, for the most part and for many, become issues of taste, and as Diana Butler Bass tell us, taste makes for a mess in a world with 82,000 possible coffee combinations at Starbucks. The truth of the matter, and the focus of today’s Antiphon, is that God’s desire is for unity of mind and mission; that we put away the pettiness of taste and instead be about the work of the Kingdom.
Of course, it probably won’t come close to happening until Jesus’ second Advent, but we know that it will come. Thankfully, Jesus prayed for it. He prayed for us.