Waiting and Watching – 30 November 2020

A woman looks out from the window of a house, her attention entirely caught by something she can see in the distance, beyond the pictorial space. She stands in an oriel window alone, framed by the dark shutters and the shaded exterior. The left of the picture depicts bright sunshine, in contrast to both the window and the darker trees on the right. There is a divide between interior and exterior space. An event outside and beyond the women is bringing change.

What is the story? What can she see that so has her attention that she grips the furniture in front of her? This picture is filled with waiting and looking, and with the moment when anticipation turns over into the reality of longed for activity.

The painting is Cape Cod Morning (1950) by Edward Hopper, American Realist painter.

As we enter another church year, one which begins with a season of waiting, this picture encourages to be watching and looking out for things anticipated and longed for.

‘Confidently waiting for the Lord allows us to find comfort and courage in the dark moments of our lives. Advent is a continuous call to hope. It reminds us that God is present in history to lead it to its ultimate goal and to its fullness, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. God is present in the history of humanity, He is the ‘God-with-us’, He walks beside us to support us.”

‘The Lord never abandons us; He accompanies us through the events of our lives to help us discover the meaning of the journey, the meaning of everyday life, to give us courage when we are under duress or when we suffer. In the midst of life’s storms, God always extends His hand to us and frees us from threats.’

Pope Francis, Advent Sunday 2020

O Lord our God,
make us watchful and keep us faithful
as we await the coming of your Son our Lord;
that, when he shall appear,
he may not find us sleeping in sin
but active in his service
and joyful in his praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Advent Sunday, Post Communion Prayer, Common Worship