Advent 2.2: More on the middle


Yes, the middle verses we sing without music, relying on one another to keep the melody, to expand the harmonies, to get through, back to the refrain we know. Because sometimes--most?--that's what the middle means: just getting through, and we're not even sure how. No instruments to lead us or show the way; no strong accompaniment to help us fake it til we make it, or give us an excuse not to sing at all. Only our own wavering voices pushing onward, stumbling over wrong notes aplenty. Until we hear another voice next to us, or behind us, that holds the tune. And we start to hear it, to feel it, more deeply within ourselves--their strength shines its way into us. Soon we realize that we are beginning to find the notes in our own soul. Maybe they were already there and we'd lost them; maybe they hadn't ever existed until now, or not that we knew. But it's those voices echoing around us that help us find our way again.

Yes, when the middle verses first arrive, we think they're all about waiting, and maybe we can't wait to be finished--slogging along until we get the triumphant organ back for the joy-filled final stanza where God surely resides, when we can lean on the sturdy backdrop once again. But as we find ourselves approaching the end of the middle, we realize that what first felt like a slog actually turned into something holy and good. That having to journey through the notes without a map started out lonely, but then we listened to the mingling of voices: soft and strong, melody and harmony, coming to know our place among them, kept steady and courageous by them.

We realize that God is present in the middle verses more fully than we could have ever known.