“And he came and preached peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-18
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it, there are many dark places. But still, there is much that is fair -and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, perhaps, it grows all the greater.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Yes, I know it’s been nearly three months since I last posted to this blog.
It’s not like I haven’t thought of a dozen clever titles for a post, or a half dozen scriptures, or a handful of clever and oh-so-timely things I want to say here. They all fell kind of flat.
But yet, I am quietly drawn these days to the power of silence. The world is kind of running amok right now, isn’t it? Do you feel like that, too? Today was the beginning of proceedings to try and warrant the impeachment of a president.
We are, indeed, despite your political leanings, a world full of peril and dark places.
Within my own beloved church, we are wrapping up disturbing thoughts and charges and disconnect after the Amazon Synod. I have personally met and talked with a half dozen people in my church in the last month – many of those personally torn, hurt, discouraged, outraged, upset, despondent and yet struggling to find a bright light in all of this crazy bad, no good, something evil this way comes kind of upset.
We are upset.
We are up-SET. Our world is not what we thought. Not what we thought it would be. Not what it should be.
We are torn asunder, and it totally breaks my heart.
Hence, this tiny short post here tonight.
I have spent the last few weeks off social media stupidity (yes, not taking that back) and instead on line in a very intensive, thought-provoking study of the Gospel of John. The Beloved Disciple. The one guy, who, despite all hardships and followers who fell into disbelief upon the crucifixion – chose to stand at the foot of the cross – and believe. The one who took Mary to be his own mother, to shelter and care for her. Who set up a house for her in Ephesus, who had great revelations about what was to become for the world (Revelations). The one who ran to the open grave on Easter Sunday, yet waited for Peter to catch up to him, out of breath. Panting, bending down, leaning into the empty tomb, to see what he could see. And yet, he waited. While he knew he already believed.
John, the Beloved, already knew. Could already see. Beyond all of the other disciples, maybe even Peter, John knew, and trusted – and chose to believe.
John the Baptist, in like form, yet different, knew Christ from the very seed of his existence in the womb. While still being formed in Elizabeth, he knew and recognized Christ the moment that Mary uttered the first breath of her Magnificat in Luke:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”
I have thought about that, a lot, this week, approaching Advent.
And my soul finds…courage.
At the approaching baptism of our Lord, John the Baptist spots Christ from far away and declares him, with great gusto and confidence, to be the Lord. The one that he is not worthy to untie his sandals. From very far away, John knows.
Likewise, Mary as a very young girl, likely unsure and shaken about what Word she has just manifested in her soul, races across the hills of Bethany to meet her cousin, Elizabeth. Confused by spiritual circumstances, she seeks comfort in what the world knows.
Even though it’s a miracle to merely think it, she dares to ask:
“Is it true,” she wonders, as she approaches the house of her cousin, “that ye of old age have conceived a child?”
While at the same time, Elizabeth must be feeling the approach of the Lord, thundering down upon every step of Mary’s tiny foot steps approaching her, bearing in every step toward her the promise of Christ. Bringing him ever closer and closer.
“Is it true,” Elizabeth responds to Mary’s query, without really thinking, without seriously having to answer,”that my Lord, the King of Kings, the Lord over all – the promised Messiah! That he makes the child in my womb leap with joy when you enter. That as you approach this very place where I stand, looking out over the valley, I am filled with wonder. How can it be that he is coming to me.”
How can it…BE.
Is it true?
I could write something pithy here, I suppose. About a parallel between the fight between good and evil in Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, or the latest Marvel comic series saga thrown up and erupting on the popular movie screen, coming soon to a theater near you.
Instead, I will leave you with this.
Once upon a time, there was a very simple girl. Her name was Mary. She believed in God, and she prayed every single day for the conversion of sinners. For the ADVENT of the world to come. She didn’t pray for that for herself. She just wanted it to happen for the good of the world. For a Redeemer to come, and save the world. From this hapless, sad state that we find ourselves in. She just wanted a Savior – someone who could see where we had been, where we are, and where we’re going.
Someone who would step in, step up, and intercede on our behalf.
Someone who gets us.
Not because He had to.
Because He WANTED to.
Yes, the world is full of dark and awful things. At the very last things of Christs’ life, he foretold his death more than once. He was really pretty specific about what was to come. He even said that one of the 12 would betray him. He dipped bread with that one at the Last Supper and told him to hurry, and do what he must do.
My soul is beat up, smashed, crushed and bleeding many days now because of many accusations against the Catholic Church that I have heard or had sent my way. Angry emails. Bitter accusations. Questions I can’t answer – yet.
We DO need to answer – we do.
Yes, our Church is broken. It would be easy to scoop up the pieces and toss them away.
While I appreciate all of those comments, I have decided that nothing will deter me from standing with John at the foot of the Cross.
Once upon a time, a young virgin conceived, and bore a son.
The Savior of the World.
Is it TRUE?
If yes, let the rest of it – what is now and was and is and ever shall be – belong to Him.