The People of God in Exile
Advent: Year C, Week 2
- The Gospel is a message of hope for the People of God suffering in exile. As an LGBT person or ally (perhaps in exile), what winding roads lie ahead for you? And how do you imagine your home, “Jerusalem,” to be like? On this winding road, are you able to offer hope and peace to others who might feel alienated or dislocated? How?
- In your life as an LGBT person how have you navigated emotional or spiritual “wildernesses” or “deserts?” In such parched environments how has the Word of God been an oasis for you? What did you learn from being in the wilderness? Have you moved to “fertile grounds” since or are you still a “voice crying out in the desert?”
- What might be some “rough” places in your life or in the life of the LGBT community that need to be smoothed out? How would you answer the Baptist’s call to repent?
- “All humankind shall see the salvation of God.” Are you able to see the salvation of God in places where LGBT persons (and their gifts) are often invisible or ignored?
- In today’s second reading, St. Paul prays that the Philippians will discern what is of value: “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” How do you discern what is of value? What is the LGBT community’s value to the church? To the wider world?
- The people’s response to Psalm 126 today is “God has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” If you were to write the verses for the psalm, what would be some of the great things God has done for you that fills you with joy? Which of these things relate to your participation in the LGBT community?
“O come, O come, Emmanuel’ is the quintessential hymn of Advent. It carries in its verses the rhythm of plaintive longing, punctuated with powerful bursts of joy in its refrain. In this hymn, the mystery and the wonder of Christian living are captured: Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. Already, but not yet. We are confident, but still crying out: “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
As you listen to this prayer-song, let it take you into the mind of Old Israel, longing for the first coming of the Messiah. In its refrain, may you ponder the promises of the One who is yet to come.