Advent Devotions: On being a Wayghte

Advent 2015. Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: This Advent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  

By Rev. Jerry Van Marter        

I Kings 5:1-12

On December 6, my pastor at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Jane Larsen-Wigger, reminded our congregation of a dramatic reading in which I participated several years ago entitled “Adventually,” by Loretta Ross. Six of us played the parts of ‘Wayghtes” — not “waits” like “He waits for the bus.” Nor “weights” as in “She lifted weights at the gym.”

These “Wayghtes” refer to an old English word describing “small bands of common folk who went about the English countryside singing carols and telling stories at Christmastide.”

“That’s how we should think of ourselves these days…as ‘Wayghtes,'” Jane told us, “and to think about this time of Advent as a time of that sort of ‘wayghting.’ We are, after all, a ‘small band of common folk.’ And we have songs to sing and stories to tell. And during these dark days, those are songs and stories the world could really stand to hear.”

In today’s lesson from I Kings, the Hebrew people are waiting. Solomon has just succeeded his father, David, as king. Solomon tells a neighboring king, Hiram, that “my father David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him.” The dream of a new temple in Jerusalem, of a new “home” for God, had been long-delayed. But the people continued to sing the songs and tell the stories that kept hope alive and God at the forefront of their aspirations. These were the Wayghtes.

Now more than ever, we need the Wayghtes, who will keep our hopes alive and God at the forefront of our aspirations as we seek light in a very dark world. This Advent, let us resolve to be today’s Wayghtes, keeping alive the promise of Christmas.

Rev. Jerry Van Marter is an alumni relations advisor at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Related Resources