The Saturday after Advent Sunday
December 5, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Anne E. Kitch
My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
“Where does the term ‘discipline of yearning’ come from, is it yours?” I text my friend. He used it in his sermon, and the phrase has been intriguing me all week.
“Wow, you are scary. Discipline of yearning, did I say that?” There is a pause in our texting as he looks up his sermon notes to see if this phrase is perhaps something he quoted from another source.
“It seems that particular quote is mine though I don’t remember saying it. You can have it if you like.”
“You still get credit for saying it.”
“Must be Holy Spirit credit.”
Sermons are always like that. There is the one that is preached, and the several other versions that are heard. I definitely heard “discipline of yearning.” What would such a discipline look like? This is what I have been pondering all week. I think of yearning as something that enters into my psyche without invitation or intentionality. If I take on yearning as a discipline, I must choose to scrutinize what it is I wait for anxiously. An examination of yearning leads me into those spaces unfulfilled hopes and dreams inhabit. Such a discipline would have me engage with the ache of longing rather than dancing around it. Yep. Exactly.
Last Sunday I was struck by my friend’s caution that we do not so immerse ourselves in the familiar and comfortable spirituality of our Advent rituals that we forget that this season calls us into a discipline of yearning. It is still on my mind. “Vocation of yearning, was that the quote?” I text.
Anne E. Kitch, Canon for Formation in the Christian Faith
Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St., Bethlehem PA 18015