Yearning is our desire for something we hope will change our lives. The dream of home ownership. A new job. A new knee. A child or a lifelong partner.
Anything worth yearning for will likely come with massive implications, rewriting fundamental assumptions or patterns in our lives. That new home has a lawn you have to mow and things you have to repair. That new job requires that period of learning new systems, rules, expectations and coworkers. That lifelong partner will pinch you as much as they shape you. That new knee—oh, the physical therapy! And let’s not get started on everything the longed-for child requires.
We know that big yearnings lead to big life changes and we’re willing to accept this because a positive change is worth the effort.
What kind of social change makes you yearn? A fairer world or one where everyone has enough food to eat? A society where people can speak to each other with respect? A holiday gathering that doesn’t descend into pure family madness? A season where you can slow down enough to enjoy your life and the people around you?
In Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 64:1-4), such large social changes come from God and they are to be both feared and desired. They bring about trembling like shaking mountains and combustions like igniting brushwood. In this Advent season of yearning, prophets like Isaiah let us know that change, like peace on earth, is going to require at least as much from us as, say, the birth of a child or the painful physical therapy of a knee replacement.
Our faith tells us that God can accomplish such changes whether we are ready or not – and God will. Yet how often do we find ourselves resisting the change because we fear the pain? And how is God drawing us forward into yearning?
This week start by identifying something for which you yearn. You may need to take a day or two to ponder it. Once you’ve figured it out, consider what will need to end to bring about this desired change. Would you look forward to this ending with anticipation or with dread? Does this ending feel far away or easily in reach? You may want to recall another time when you experienced a dramatic change—one you either yearned for or dreaded. Discuss, reflect, or journal about what it feels like to be running out of time—and maybe even to be liking it.
Join us for our Wednesday Advent worship with Holden Evening Prayer today and December 3 and December 10 at noon or 6:30 PM as we continue to explore our Advent theme of “Out of Time.”
At First Lutheran, we are a community of disciples of Jesus Christ working for the transformation of the world. Throughout our history, we have remained committed to drawing on our Lutheran (ELCA) tradition of using meaningful worship, content-rich learning and warm hospitality to care well for our congregation, the surrounding community and the world.