The earth pulsates with the heartbeat of longing. It yearns with the heavy reality of not-yet and aches with the question of but when? When will the and-now come and remove desire from the creation that groans under its burden?

Each human soul, entering into the beat of the longing, joins the rhythm of expectation and waiting. We yearn. We wait. We weep.

How long, oh Lord?

Emmanuel waits in the space between the heartbeats. He is in the whisper. He is in the quiet. He is in the longing. We know this is not how it should be. We are meant to endure the glory in its fullness, but instead we experience a dim glimpse as it passes us by.

We are drawn to it, and we follow the glory. We stumble along a path that is narrow with demands and dark with sorrow. We place our feet in the dusty footprints of those who have walked before us.

We bleed from the swords that have not yet become plowshares, and we heave with the sickness of crushed hopes.

Emmanuel walks with us, but we remain in the shadow of the Presence. We cannot gaze on the face of Love, and we feel as though we cannot bear the unmet longing to do so.

We come limping and broken to the table of delight, bringing our vulnerable desire that we are not entirely certain will be fulfilled, and yet we hope that it will. We hope in the Man with the scars who sits at the head of the table, and yet also waits with us at the doorway. We wait for the meal to begin, filled with hunger for a food that we have not consumed yet, filled with a nostalgia for an experience that we have not lived yet.

And here we wait, drinking of the wine and milk without price, and allowing our eyes to slowly adjust to the light that is brighter than what our darkened lenses of sorrow and loss can yet comprehend.

We wait and long for the words of invitation.

Come. Come and eat.