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The World Screams For Our Attention
Advent Is Quiet and Unobtrusive
The daily newsfeed is a constant source of ‘bad news’ (as suggested by Bob Dylan in a past New Yorker piece) and we are drawn to it like Turkey Buzzards flocking to a recent roadkill.
Nightly we tune into the litany of bad news, highlighted by global conflict, environmental destruction and political duplicity. And in case we don’t get enough of it we immerse ourselves in series like Top of the Lake and Broadchurch to wade in even deeper into waters of personal angst. (At least this is the particular brand of angst my wife and I are drawn to!)
The Norwegian painter Edvard Munch presages the bad news turnings of the 20th century in his famous work The Scream. Munch presents a world of noise, pain and terror all captured in a person’s wailing scream. We sense it like a background hum as we go in and out of our digital web feed.
Maybe that is why we might skip right by the ‘good news’ of the Advent message. After all that noise, does it seem too quiet and tame? Still, and contrarily, I believe our spirits long for a measure of peace, tranquility, and calm as suggested by an early artistic presentation of The Good Shepherd:
The Advent season invites us to inhale this peace of our Good Shepherd who comes quietly, unobtrusively, and gently with a message of compassion and a presence of unceasing care. This week, may we hear the telling whisper of an ancient prophetic voice to still our anxious hearts:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
And carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)
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