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I’ve been reading the laments of Scripture–expressions of grief over  how the wicked flourish and act with impunity, how the poor are crushed, how the world is broken down.  One weary lament has resonated with me during this season:  “How long, O Lord?  How long?”  Advent is a time of preparation for the arrival of the kingdom of heaven.  It is a season of waiting and wanting.  We long for and (in the words of Charles Wesley) pine for the day when our exile will be over and God will intervene to make all things new.  When I hear the news of war, when I watch the clashes on our streets, while I feel the sting of death, I want to cry out, “How long, O Lord?  How long?”

I have also found myself praying the Lord’s prayer frequently.  According to the early church discipleship manual, the Didache, believers were expected to repeat this prayer three times daily.  I’m already up to four times and it is only 11:00 am.  I keep repeating the phrases, “Your kingdom come; your will be on on earth as in heaven” and “deliver us from evil.”  Yesterday, we prayed in the middle of Fullerton Avenue as we marched: “Your kingdom come; your will be done in the 14th Police District, throughout Chicago, throughout the suburbs, in Ferguson, MO, in New York City, on earth as in heaven.”  We prayed: “Deliver us from evil ‘cuz black lives matter, latino lives matter, all lives matter.”  We cried out in the midst of our wilderness.

I find great hope in God’s word to Moses at the burning bush, “I have seen the misery of my people; I have heard their crying out; I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them.”  God sees; God hears; God rescues!  God sent a deliverer–Jesus.  And Jesus sends us.  “As the father has sent me, so I am sending you.”  So we cry out–not in despair, but in great hope and deep faith and persevering love–“The Kingdom of heaven is coming!”

O God, Yours is the kingdom.  Yours is the power.  Yours is the glory, forever and ever!  Amen!

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