“Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise” (Psalm 79:13)
On A Pile of Rocks
A fourth-grade girl had her clothes, books and shoes in the bag. Her parents dropped her off to a quiet street, then convinced her to sit on a pile of rocks in front of an empty property. Afterwards, they watched her from a distance. She was uneasily waiting for what was to come.
Waiting throughout the church history has been a big deal. Micah speaks to a world bewildered by violence and problematic authorities. Jesus and the disciples encounter a manipulative emperor and arrogant religious leaders. The people of Israel and the early church wait for a liberation.
Waiting may create an anxiety as we feel uncertain. It’s harder due to the ongoing pandemic. I have lost some friends. Many friends and relatives lost their beloved ones without getting a chance to say goodbye, too. We have a strange Advent. A weird Epiphany.
Nevertheless, today’s readings are a reminder. God hears the cry of people of Judah. God sees the ruin of temple of Jerusalem.
(1) Expecting the unexpected. Advent brings us the good news. God visits us in the unpredictable way. The new ruler will rise from a small Bethlehem. He reigns with righteousness. He brings justice and peace. God empowers us to be the instruments.
(2) God lives with us. I am that 4th grader. A couple of minutes felt like days, although it was just a simple transition from my parents’ home to my mother’s big sister’s home, whom I have known since I was very little. It was not Advent season nor a holiday but practicing my family’s tradition to improve my health condition. God was there with me on a pile of rocks. He leads me to where I am today. He comforts my parents especially my mother when she grieves for her first two children. God protects the indigenous people and black communities who have been overwhelmed by the abusive authorities. God counts the vote. God reigns on every corner in this country.
Evangeline Pua, Pastor of Gereja Kristen Indonesian (GKI) in San Francisco. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1977. Graduated from the oldest ecumenical seminary in Indonesia. She is a full-time pastor in GKI. Being involved in raising awareness of ecological justice internationally since 2009. Her parents come from North and Central Sulawesi. Her husband comes from West Borneo. They and their two teenage children enjoy light travel. They have moved 7 times in Indonesia and Australia before. One day they hope to get their own house where they have their own chooks, pet a dog, have a fish pond (again) and a vegetable garden with compost bins and a wooden dining table where you might be their guest too one day.