Treasure Valley Prays

Advent Blues

“Advent does not begin in buoyancy or celebration or in a shopping spree. The natural habitat of Advent is a community of hurt. It is the voice of those who know profound grief, who articulate it and do not cover it ever”

Walter Bruggemann

Those words are from one of my favorite biblical scholars Walter Bruggemann. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to Advent, especially this year. Yes this has been a year of hurt, of “one crying in the wilderness” if you will. There are days when we just want to cry and cry we do. We want to just have a warm security blanket and climb underneath it.

Advent doesn’t let us ignore the hurt of the world. It is the hurt, the brokenness of the a world that causes God to enter our life in a new fashion. Through the person of Christ God is still doing his new thing in the middle of so much hurt and grief.

Grief has been our constant companion this year, to deny it is to deny the reality of so much sickness and death in the world. There has been so much to grieve over since the year began. Too many friends have lost loved ones, I have lost a few myself. My own temperament has changed as the grief continued.

Yes, I’ve had a big case of the blues. But sometimes having the blues gets you out of that mood, especially if you turn to the Blues. The Blues along with Jazz’ unique American contributions to the world of music. They come out of the experience of our life and right now as Buddy Guy once sang, “Oh I don’t know what to do, I sit and cry and sing the blues!”

Bruggemann would understand those words this Advent season. He would tell us to sing the blues out, be honest about what you feel; but the blues, like the spirituals before them bring us to a place of hope. They don’t deny our hurt, our grief, our reality, but they can usually move through it and someday past it. Our own liturgical calendar even helps us to do so as we move through Advent and enter into Christmas where new songs are sung, songs of light and hope and grace, yes, Amazing Grace, which I think is both a Blues hymn and a song of hope. This Advent I still have the blues, but I’ve got a bit of hope too! I hope you do as well as the blues of Advent travels with us to a time of light, life, and hope.

Let us pray...

Holy One, we sing the Blues this Advent. We cry out with our grief and hurt this season. We want to be honest with you and ask for your presence as we sing our songs of grief. We lift up our truth that we’ve about had it for this year and need a word, well many words of hope. We are tired and filled with sadness and ask that as Christ comes again into our lives that the reality of our hope becomes more evident, more real for us. We need it badly during the blues of Advent. Amen

John Hergert

John Hergert

Interim ELCA Pastor,
Grace Lutheran, Mountain Home, ID

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jim Grunow

    Nice piece here, John. You have quoted a giant in Walter Bruggemann, one of my favorites as well. I appreciate your message of hope. I think I need to listen to more Blues music.

  2. johnstevenhergert

    As I read what I wrote here I realized I made a mistake. I said that Jazz and the Blues were a unique form of our music, meaning American music. That is incorrect. It’s actually a unique form of music out of the African American experience of Oppression in our country. My apologies.

  3. Kari Sansgaard

    Thank you, John, for giving us space to grieve and hope.

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