Isaiah 40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
It’s the end of a long Sunday. I have led Zoom worship, preached a Zoom sermon (that included a video of baby goats getting hugged,*) attended a two hour church board meeting, sent a dozen emails for my other church job, made sure the dog got walked the appropriate number of times, made a crockpot dinner, and attended to various other odds and ends. It is the end of the day. This daily writing practice really works better when I get to it at the beginning.
Because if I had more time or energy or bandwidth to write coherent sentences, I could say a LOT about Zoom and muting ourselves and how to be a hospitable host in online meetings and why the internet sucks and how it is, nonetheless, saving us right now. I am a tyrannical Zoom host. I take my powers very seriously. I think I am good at muting the people that need to be muted [when the leaf blower starts up in the background or their wifi is emitting that strange clicking noise] and unmuting the ones that look like they are ready to speak [a certain twist to the mouth, a deep inhale, the wildly waving arm trying to get my attention].
I could write so much about how unmuting ourselves is intimidating and dangerous, how speaking your mind can get you pretty swiftly and squarely into hot water and also how important it is to speak the things that we’ve been given to say. I wish more of us had the courage to speak up. I don’t mean parroting political talking points or sharing misinformation or arguing about meaningless things. I mean speaking up when we are convicted, when we receive a word from the Lord, when we sense that *this* piece of information or perspective or explanation or confession is important and would further the conversation. I wish more of us were willing to be vulnerable in that way, to share our ideas and let them be tested in conversational community. I wish we took our speech more seriously. I wish we believed that what we say could change things significantly. I wish we would finally get tired of mealy-mouthed platitudes and doublespeak and demand that the people in charge used declarative, definitive statements.
I would have a lot to say about all that, if I weren’t so beat, if it weren’t Sunday evening, if I hadn’t skipped the requisite Sunday Afternoon Preachers’ Nap.
Instead, here I am at the end of the day, being faithful to this Advent practice even though I am wrung out. Crying out, even though, like Isaiah, I’m not sure what it is I’m supposed to cry about right here and now.
* this video about goats getting hugged, because the passage that today’s text is from – Isaiah 40 – ends like this: He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.