Chants are powerful.
Used in almost all cultures throughout the world and history, they are deep and abiding musical forms that connect us mind, body and soul. Repeating a phrase over and over again creates a form of prayer that connects the singer or musician with the deepest places cries of who we are. Repetition allows for our spirits to release what can’t be expressed in words; when our mouths known what lines to sing over and over, we are set free to release pain, joy, sorrow, hope, and despair. We call upon God, we petition God, we lament before God, we praise God, we explore God, we seek God and we become silent before God.
Michelle Tumes’ chant — simply entitled “Chant” — has been a favourite of mine for years. Since college, I have played and replayed this little chorus, learning to breathe as I sing, hum, cry or be silent.
Many stories have walked through the food bank doors in the past four days. Christmas won’t be a jolly time this year for many. For some, however, there is a festive air even amidst trials. Others are simply busy — working to hop from this event to the next, hoping to make it out on the other side New Years alive.
Wherever you’re at tonight, lay down as much as your able. I know sometimes being asked to lay it all down seems impossible. Lay down what you can. Sense the relief that brings, even if it’s infinitesimal.
In Advent, we sometimes need to backtrack. We remember that we have hope, peace, joy and love. But a deeper Advent pushes us to face full-on our darkness and longing and need. Why do we need peace, hope and joy and love? How come?
To this place.
However darkness and longing and need look for you.
Bring your fear with you.
Bring it all.
Breathe those short little gasps of anxiety, as you cry once more over the barren cupboards…
Cry out the grief over losing a loved one…
Sigh those deep dreadful sighs that pervade depression as you care — or don’t care — about the value and direction of your life…
Be silent as your silence calls you to be…
Be in Advent. Be in longing.
“…and may the God of all hope fill you…”
However you need God to come to you, fill you, and meet you, may it be so.