Advent 2019, Week 2
It’s the 2nd Sunday of Advent, 2019. I’m reviewing moments of my church life. I do this every time we pray the confession of our sins, where we are supposed to say, “We do humbly repent,” but as a teenager I inadvertently said, “We do humbly repeat,” and my sister and I burst out laughing. After that, my mother separated us, made us sit on each side of her on the pew. Apart, out of mischief’s way.
I arch my eye. The lyricists of the hymns use words that appear to rhyme on paper but, in the real world of pronunciation, do not. In church on Sunday’s, my mother held the lyricists’s feet to the fire. She made the words rhyme. I do the same, especially when the lazy lyricist doesn’t even try. I sing “load” as “lod” because it was meant to rhyme with God.
I go to church for lots of reasons. One is because passages I’ve heard all my life will suddenly twist, and I’ll see them in a brand new way. This new insight rarely has to do with anything the preacher is saying (unless that preacher is my brilliant godchild, then she invariable offers a new way to hear it.) But, like today, in the reading about Jesus returning with his winnowing fork to separate the wheat and chaff, I realized the entire reading is about fruit (Bear fruit worthy of repentance; the tree that doesn’t bear good fruit will be cut down). Unlike the normal reading of this passage where Jesus is coming back to throw sinners in the fire, the passage isn’t about burning the godless. Wheat is fruit while chaff is not. Jesus is separating the fruit from the residue, saving what’s good, burning what’s not. Every passage doesn’t have to be read through the lens of vengeance.
In most churches, the choir sings while everyone goes to communion. This song is called the communion hymn. I sang it out today, loud and proud. When it was over I leaned into my husband and said, “If they didn’t want us to sing it, they shouldn’t print the hymn number in the bulletin.”
I’m doing an Advent practice on Facebook. You can follow it here. Each day, I’m posting sightings that encapsulate the complex run-up to the birth of the Christ child. The postings are not the expected. But you already knew that, right?