Rock Us Into Joy

The third Sunday of Advent in my tradition is Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday. How do we celebrate Rejoice Sunday in a world so burdened with sorrow? One of the promises of  Advent and of the Gospel story is that joy and sorrow sometimes hold hands. As headlines shout disturbing, heartbreaking news, people in Christian communities continue to hold on to the countercultural, radical, and subversive promise that somehow, even in smoke-filled streets of protest, the hopes and fears of the years meet and are transformed by God’s unending love.

So, joy? Joy for me on this Rejoice Sunday is present, but it is a quiet joy, a leaning forward and looking back—a persistent moving toward hope while recognizing that hope’s promised justice and peace remain beyond where we are. In the meanwhile, God calls us to embody God’s unending and persistent love through our care for each other in the communities where we live, work and play everyday.




They heard the cosmos singing
on a silent sacred night;
“Come see a manger-cradle
beneath a Bethlehem light.”

Expecting to find a king,
from fields and afar they came.
A baby. In a stable.
God-with-us the promised name.




Sweet Lullaby, where are you
when deep sadness steals our sleep?
Or when upon a midnight,
no angels our souls do keep?

With the movement of each sway,
sharpen our world-weary gaze;
We pray for strength and courage;
for wisdom to seek your ways.




Creation’s heart is breaking;
we hear the whole earth groan.
Be near us, fearless Mama;
and sing your justice song.

Let each soul feel your mercy;
let love all evil destroy.
O, rock us into justice,
we pray. Rock us into joy.




Photo by Sheila G. Hunter. Used by permission.





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