December 10, 2023: The Work of Advent: Deconstruction

Bible and lit candles

Second Sunday of Advent

The Work of Advent: Deconstruction

Over the course of the last two summers, all the streets near our home have been worked on as part of a city-wide infrastructure improvement project to replace ancient, cast-iron natural gas mains, as well as the service lines that connect the mains to each house. The good news about this disruptive project is that it makes all our homes less likely to be incinerated in a surprise explosion.

The downside, by comparison, is minor: inconvenience. There have been parking restrictions and driving lane restrictions and oh-so-many neon-wearing traffic flaggers. We’ve been treated to the harsh sounds of pavement grinding, the petroleum scent of cold patch asphalt, and the occasional front yard geyser when heavy equipment operators have struck a water line. Rumor has it that by next summer, fresh pavement will finally be poured and smoothed, giving us (at least briefly) the finest roads in our commonwealth. To achieve such a feat, it will have been quite a demolition process.

Anyone taking Advent seriously as a season to prepare for Jesus’ arrival will want to give attention to John the Baptist’s instructions. He calls us to repentance. This is no chip-and-seal process where the roadbed is merely covered over. To be effective, it must be a process of scraping away at the old surface, exposing what lies beneath, correcting what is worn, or weak, or corroded, or unreliable. Before Jesus comes, John pronounces, it is significant to work on deconstruction.

Christine Sobania Johnson, pastor
College Hill Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania