The Appearance of Hope (An #Advent Poem)

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The Appearance of Hope (An Advent Poem)

Not long after John appeared in the wilderness
with sweet locusts on his breath
Not long after the expectant crowds
churned muddy waves of confession into the Jordan
Not long after he baptized Jesus in the cold river
on a day overcast with love and thunder
Not long after he saw that the stepped over stones
would one day give birth to children of God
Not long after he warned about the wrath to come
when the kingdom of God arrives ablaze in vengeance
Not long after this, John appeared in prison
with dank piss and fear on his camel-hair clothes.
Not long after this he began to question
whether Jesus was the savior they had long awaited
Or whether they should look for another.
Because Israel had not been restored to power.
Because the advent of wrath had yet to arrive.
Because the fires of unquenchable vengeance smoldered and gasped.
Because no one had been burned, least of all their enemies.
Because they were not yet saved, least of all him.
Because he was in prison while Jesus preached liberation.
How long, O Lord
no longer a question
but a declaration of lament
with the appearance of hope:
The one he had waited for,
was no longer the one he had expected.

Based on the Lectionary readings from the Second and Third Sundays of Advent

Image credit: “Prison” by Ricardo Cuppini

About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He is ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He lives in North Carolina, is a father of two boys, and the husband of a medical resident.

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