Who knew that a contemplative experience could be had whilst doing simple food prep? I had decided to cook a pot of black-eyed peas. I would have to sort through them first to discard the inedible ones. I poured the contents of a one-pound bag into a large bowl and started sifting through them. I used my open hand as a sifting tray, watching beige and black spotted peas slide across and through my fingers. As I repeated this action, it was like watching a wave of colors moving rhythmically around the bowl with the shooshing sound of maracas. Mesmerized, I found myself lost in the thoughts of my day. Two statements I heard earlier came back to me as though my brain was inviting me to ponder them again.
One phrase was used in response to it being the end of what felt like a long work week. “There must be a God.” And the other was a response to my finding it hard to believe the year was almost up. “When something is real, it doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.”
These two responses were from two different people at two different times of the day. Both were part of very casual, very short conversations in passing, yet I couldn’t overlook how they both seemed to address a theology of presence. One made me wonder if our individual belief systems/processes really could be swayed so easily by events that would surely happen anyway. And the other made me wonder if the something real was what the first response was also about.
In this time of Advent, what is it that we are waiting for? As surely as the work week must come to an end, there must be a God. In years past I have written about this blessed anticipation – like the ghosts who shook Ebenezer into right relationship with humanity – there is a past, present and future angle to this anticipation. So we are to strive toward goodwill and peace; for love and consideration; to demand equity and equality while we wait. The reasons that should compel us to these actions are as many as there are people in this world regardless of genetic complexities or habitat arrangements or even notions about our existence. And that’s real. So regardless of what we believe, striving to be in right relationship with each other is something we can all do while we wait together.