Advent, Day 2

LOOK: First Day of Creation by Natalya Rusetska

Rusetska, Natalya_First Day of Creation
Natalya Rusetska (Ukrainian, 1984–), First Day of Creation, 2017. Egg tempera on gessoed wood board, 30 × 30 cm.

LISTEN: “Let There Be” by Michael and Lisa Gungor, on Ghosts Upon the Earth (2011)

Darkness hovering
Grasping everything it sees
Void, empty
Absent life and absent dream

Let there be
Let there be
Let there be
Let there be

Angels toil and crack open scrolls of ancient dreams
Countless worlds of his
Brilliant stars and breath and stream

Let there be
Let there be
Let there be
Let there be
Let there be
Let there be
Let there be light

Let there be light
Where there is darkness
Let there be light
Where there is nothing
Let there be light

The opening track on Gungor’s Ghosts Upon the Earth, “Let There Be” narrates God’s creation of the universe. What starts out as ethereal becomes increasingly more solid as the floating notes on piano and guitar coalesce into chords and meld with the cellos. Represented by a small choir, the Triune community voices its fiat: “Let there be . . .” A synthesized xylophone and tremolos from the strings suggest lively activity—“angels toil”—as the cosmos begins to take shape. In the second refrain the voices crescendo to a thunderous climax, a drum beating loud and steady as if laying down a foundation.

While this song is most fundamentally about the Genesis 1 creation story, it can also be read in light of John’s Gospel prologue, where he describes Jesus as light coming into the world, and similarly, Luke’s Annunciation narrative, where “ancient dreams” put down in prophetic scrolls are fulfilled in the conception of Christ in Mary’s womb, initiating a new epoch. 

(Related post: “God breaking in on our world”; video: “Saying Yes: The Annunciation in Contemporary Art”)

The Advent season begins in darkness. Taking stock of this darkness, we ask for God’s light to break in once again—into our hearts and lives, our communities, our world.

In the beginning the Spirit hovered over the void and breathed life into it. Millennia later the Spirit hovered over a virgin’s empty womb and did it again, making the Word flesh. And into our present lack, into our chaos, the Spirit still is coming, re-creating, so that Christ, the light, might be born in us.

Here’s a recent cover of “Let There Be” by IAMSON, which he combines with another Gungor song, “Crags and Clay”: