Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blog # 212 Advent - b

Blog # 212 - Advent - b In our Christian faith we claim for God our Creator the power that wills the earth to spin at a rate of more than a thousand miles an hour and to move in its orbit at a rate of 1,500,000 miles each day as it travels around the sun . In Advent we prepare to celebrate and respond to another power of God even more wonderful and mysterious than the physical power that moves the earth and stars. It is the power that enables us to discover and to love God as our Creator, the power to pray, to receive forgiveness for our sins, to be kind even to our enemies, to believe in life eternal and to hope to be worthy of everlasting peace and joy beyond the grave. We generally take the power that rules the movements of the earth and stars for granted. Yet we can do nothing but marvel at it when we stop to reflect upon it. So it is we tend to take for granted the power that comes to us in Jesus. Advent presents an invitation for us to step back and reflect upon it again. It is a time to grow in our knowledge and love for God through growing in our knowledge and appreciation of ourselves.. We grow intellectually as we increase our treasury of information. It works like this. First we want to be able to recognize letters of the alphabet. Then we want to be able to make words by combining the letters we have learned. Then we want to be able to read the comic strip in the daily paper, then the editorial, then the text book in our science class. Then we want to be able to combine our words in such a way they become a message from our inmost heart, telling someone we love how much this is so. Then perhaps prose is not enough and we want to write a poem. All of it is connected and based upon the very first questions we asked about the letters of the alphabet . This is just an illustration and reminder of something that is true of growth in other fields as well as grammar and language. It is true of math medicine and theology. The more questions we have the more information will be ours, and the more opportunity we will have to grow. Here is how it applies. We are driving north on I-95. We stop and eat at Shoney's. We have spaghetti and meat balls and a salad. It costs $ 4,25, the price for seniors. It is one PM. We finish our meal and are on our way. That is the physical part of it. It could be the same for someone other than ourself. Now for the question of the value of what is going on. We are very tired. We had a short night's rest and a long drive to arrive at Shoney's. We are still a long way from New Jersey. No one else in the restaurant knows what it is costing me to make this trip but I am very willing and happy to be paying that price because of the value I have placed on the goal of the trip. I am going to spend Christmas with Grandma. She is 91 now and that has something to do with the value of my heading north on I-95. Some of the people in Shoney's will not even notice me. I will be visible but not seen by all. They will not ask me if I am tired or happy. They will never know. I will not make any difference to them. Our relationship to one another will not grow beyond the physical one of being in the same restaurant at a particular time of a particular day. Now look at it another way. Suppose I never ask such questions of myself ? As a result I would not know who I really am. We, the inner person present in each of us, would never make much difference to the body that is mine. My relationship to my daily human experiences will not grow beyond the physical awareness of being hungry tired hot cold comfortable existing in some particular place at some particular time, changing by way of growing in age, but not in meaning purpose wisdom and goodness. How sad that would be! Unfortunately, most of the influence upon our daily lives at the present moment in history here in the US seems to encourage just such a situation. How many ads on TV encourage us to grow beyond the physical possibilities that are open to us? How much emphasis do you think would be placed upon Christmas if it were not a money-maker? Who cares whether the tremendous number of men and women in prisons around the country right now are happy as long as they are kept from causing trouble on our streets? Who is bothered by the fact and the consequences of the fact the average chief executive officer of a large American Company made forty times the wage of an average worker in the Company two decades ago and now he or she sometimes makes a hundred ninety times a worker's salary ? Advent is a time of questions, a time of growth. Who am I? Who are we" What are we doing, physically, intellectually spiritually? Is there any change going on in our lives? In what direction are we going? Jesus comes to help us with the answers. Let's not let the opportunity slip by. Thanks!

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