I will stand at my watch-post,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he* will answer concerning my complaint.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith. -* Habakkuk 2:1-4
All thorough Advent we have heard the message of "Be awake! Be alert!" We have been preparing for the coming of the Christ Child but we have also been inwardly preparing. We have been reading, meditating, listening. Hopefully we have been learning to listen to the voice of God through the static and noise of everyday life. It's something we will continue to work on all the days of our lives, but as of now, we are looking forward to the coming of Christmas and the twelve days of its season.
We have been reading and hearing from prophets speaking to people in exile and also to people who remained at home but who needed to make big changes because they were moving away from God's ways. Isaiah, Malachi, Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Amos and others have spoken words of warning but also words of hope. Today, Habakkuk's words speak of both warning and hope in a message that we need to hear today.
Being on guard duty or somewhere else where a person is alone with few distractions make for a time and place for meditation and listening. I used to find my listening space under a big pine tree on the bluff over my river. I still remember the peace and calm I found there, and the feeling that God was sitting there beside me in companionable silence. Even now, when I think of my river and that pine tree, I reconnect to some of that peace and calm, and that connection with God.
Habakkuk was looking for a connection as he watched from the rampart. What God told him to do was to write what he saw and heard so that even simple people could read it. The important part was that God had a vision that wasn't going to go away. It might not come to fruition right away, but it was still valid and still to come. What was that vision? Has it come yet?
It's entirely possible that God gave us an idea of the vision with the creation of the world. Everything was lush, beautiful, fruitful and varied. It was a peaceful world with all needs provided and no inequality anywhere. It was an idyllic life, and best of all, God walked with them in the garden, talking with them like good friends. And then came the fall. Evidently there was the tiniest flaw in the free will, or perhaps the Adversary created a snake to create discord and havoc.
I don't think the vision of God is dead or even impossible. Eden isn't a tropical island in the middle of the ocean or a mountaintop hermitage with vistas that go on forever. Eden is a world with people caring for the earth and for each other. Everyone is a neighbor and no one is cold, hungry, homeless, afraid, exploited, or poor. It's a vision of all the best of and for everyone and every thing. It sounds like a wonderful vision, but it is not here yet. And, at the rate we're going, it may be a very long time coming.
Luckily God has faith in us. That must be so because we keep getting chance after chance to make things better and we keep muffing the job. Yet there is still a vision and it will not go away. The proud will lose and the righteous will continue to live by their faith. It's a good vision. Too bad we don't all share it -- and do something about it.
So, since it is still Advent, let's take this vision for our own. Let's keep awake and aware for ways to make the vision a reality. We haven't been excused from our tour of duty on the rampart yet. And there is still a vision...