“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord..” ..prophet Isaiah looking forward to an Advent moment..a meeting with God.. they thought on a mountain, the then traditional meeting place with God..whereas now we know it was in the lowliness of a manger in a stable ..where a child was to be born, for mankind then, & now born again in you & I in 3 wks time..
“My friend come, do not lose heart ; we were made for these times..” ; Lord have mercy “I urge you, gentle you, please do not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these times..” ; Christ have mercy “we are needed, that is all we can know ..& though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls, who will love us & guide us, & we will know them when they appear..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..three readings; three windows on your Advent calendar, not with a chocolate behind each but a word/ phrase which, when woven /stitched together, set the tone & context for our Advent 2019..”come..know “the time” has come..so stay awake”..I received two pastoral letters this week ; our traditional Advent one from Bishop Terence which I leave for you to take home to choose the time & to read/reflect on..focuses on this new Church year being “the Year of the Word..the God who speaks”..who speaks through scripture the liturgy & in person 20 times day in ordinary real life..i ..how many times so far today have you met Christ?..how many times has Christ spoken to you in person? ..second pastoral letter spoke sufficiently powerfully to me for me to want to share its wisdom with you as we begin our journey towards the manger together..”so stay awake!” no question of you falling asleep..authors name gives spice from the start.. Clarissa Pinkola Estes “we were made for these times” written 13 days ago so the straw is still warm.. “my friends, do not lose heart.We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply & properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment, & often righteous rage over the lastest degradations of what matters to civilised, visionary people. You are right in your assessments; the lustre & hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor the unguarded, the helpless is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is we were made for these times. Yes, for years we have been learning, practising been in training for, & just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. I grew up on the Great Lakes & recognise a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world.; & they are fully provisioned & able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind. Look out over the prow; there are millions of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow & rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own & to advance, regardless. In any dark time there is tendency to veer towards fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what you cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know; & though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us & guide us, & we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater? Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portions of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip towards an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to & adding more continually. We know that it doesn’t need everyone on earth to bring justice & peace, but only a small determined group who will not give up during the first, second or hundredth gale. One of the most calming & powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up & show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times; the light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these; to be fierce & to show mercy towards others; both are acts of immense bravery & greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit & willing to show it; if you would help to calm the storm, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it; it is not allowed to eat from my plate." [ what beautifully evocative phrases "but I do not keep a chair for it".."it is not allowed to eat from my plate" ] "The reason is this; in my uttermost bones I know something, as you do. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to earth, who you serve, & who sent you here. The good words we say & the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words & deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall; When a great ship is in harbour & moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.”
“..come..know the time has come..so stay awake” & now let us set sail together into our Advent.. [1st Sun Advent YrA ; Mt 24; 37-44]