Readings: Psalm 25: 1-22, 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13, Jeremiah 33: 14-16, Luke 21: 25-36
It is incredible how our body joins together with our minds to help us work out what we are feeling. Our non-verbal communication most often speaks louder and more clearly than our words as we seek to give expression to what is going on beneath the surface. When our favourite team or individual wins a point in whatever game we support we jump in celebration with our hands held high – we know by our response that we are very happy and excited and grateful. When they loose a point, we hunch over and our mood becomes sombre. For those who are a little better at controlling their initial responses, you will still see the signs (even if they are only by viewing the edge of the mouth as they lift or droop a little and the tone of the voice as a gruff “umm” is breathed out in muffled excitement or in a more sombre tone).
When we are sad and depressed or ill, we more often than not draw into ourselves (there are those who would believe that it is because we are trying to get ourselves back into the foetal position), When we are happy and full of confidence, we walk upright (unless you are teenager who has to walk with stooped shoulders because it is a matter of course) and we push our chest out and swing our arms and make big movements with our head held high.
The liturgical Churches have understood this concept long before psychology as a science was able to be able to put words to it. Whenever we thank God or praise God in our prayers, litanies and worship, we normally stand with raised hands (sometimes) and when we are asking God for something or when we seek mercy in repentance, we kneel or we are seated. Our bodies and our words help us to understand what it is we are experiencing within our hearts.
In this season of preparation we stand with our hands held high as we worship God for coming as an infant in order to offer us the fullness of live; to save us from the darkness within ourselves and within the brokenness of the world (and it really makes no difference whether Christmas is the exact day or not; it is so vital that we have a day on which we can remember the greatest love story of all eternity with consistent regularity…)
We stand with hands held high as we anticipate His second coming with joy and excitement even as we face the disarray of the world without becoming overwhelmed by the disorder – we celebrate and long for His second coming because in Him; we know that all things will be brought under His authority and be a part of His peace.
We stand with hands held high because we know that He has already come into our hearts and so we have the incredible privilege of being a part of the peace and harmony He brings into this world of disorder. We become the rational voice that speaks into the face of the folly of mankind because we speak as representatives and friends of God most High, the God most worthy of all praise. Let us help the world celebrate the coming of Christ with us as we actively prepare our hearts for this celebration of live. Remember the story. Live the story. Tell the story.