Monday, December 11, 2006

On the Way in Advent

Today's First Reading from Isaiah 35:1-10 is one of several passages which highlights the Royal Road across which the exiles were to travel on their return to God and to God's land following the Babylonian Capivity. This road blossoms with new life in the midst of the desert. It is laid out "for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk."

How like our Advent journey. There is a purpose in it,.... to return to God. There is a direction to it,.... away from captivity to our sin and to old ways of being, and going back to God our Source. And there is time and a tempo in it. This pilgrimage doesn't happen overnight. Good travels take time, and we keep on journeying back to God from our baptism to our deathbed and long after. So we are asked not to get too impatient if it seems like we aren't making much progress right now, or that we can't see far ahead along the way. Finally, as we go this Advent there is a sense of openness to new adventures, things which we can't even see and imagine right now.

It reminds me of the words to a song from the great epic fantasy trilogy, Lord of the Rings, "The Road Goes on Forever." Yes, I know there's a country-western song by that name too, but it's just not as apt or romantic as J.R.R. Tolkien's words:

“The Road goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
and I must follow,
if I can, pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”

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