Pastor Column: On the move this Advent
By Andy Willis
Stir up your might, and come to save us! (Psalm 80:2)
It‘s old language, that verse from Psalm 80. Some contemporary versions of the Bible might simply translate it as ‘wake up,’ and I can understand why. If I‘m trying to rouse my son from sleep, I don‘t say ‘stir up your might.’ It sounds awkward and stilted; we don‘t talk to one another like that.
But this verse from Psalm 80 has long been translated into English this way. Christians have been praying with the words ‘stir up your power’ for centuries during Advent, and I like the sound of it.
When we say it that way, we are calling on God to notice where things have gotten a little too settled.
The oil and the vinegar have separated; the cream has drifted to the top.
It‘s time to shake things up, God: stir up your might, and come.
Culinary images aside, it‘s a powerful prayer for the start of Advent.
It‘s a prayer for people who feel stuck in some way, who long for movement and motion, who feel that it‘s time for God to do something in their lives and in the world.
Does that sound like a prayer you could pray this season? Where do you feel stuck?
Where do you wish for movement and new direction? Where do you wish God would stir things up and come?
The story of Christmas is the story of a God who isn‘t content to let the world grow stale and settled, who finally enters into human life to shake things up and show us what life that is full and free looks like.
The story of Christmas is the story of a God who is on the move.
We will follow that theme over the weeks of Advent this year, paying attention to the ways God is on the move in the biblical story and to the ways God remains on the move in our world and our lives today.
But we won’t rush there.
Advent begins with the honesty of Psalm 80, with the cry for God to get moving, to stir up our imaginations, to stir up our hopes, to stir up our dreams, to stir up our lives.
Do not leave us settled, God, we pray.
Make something new of our lives where they are stuck; churn up new possibilities where the world has become accustomed to dead ends and half-truths.
Come to us as you came to the world in need two thousand years ago.
Stir up your might, O God, and come to save us.
Peace be with you this Advent.