As I journeyed through Advent this year I often felt like I had opened a puzzle box that was filled with wonderful pieces but they had nothing to do with one another.
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In his book, Returning from Camino, Alexander Shaia explains that the advertised destination of any given pilgrimage is not the end but the turning around point, and it is only through the long process of returning to walk the ways of the mundane and usual that the work of pilgrimage is brought to fruition.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth…
In the beginning.
The beginning is a starting place. It is the sunrise over a day that has not yet seen the rust and wear of the afternoon. It is a new chance to live. It is a place to choose, once again, who you will be. Whom you will serve. Whom you will allow to be your teacher.
I just spent three hours cleaning up the room shared by my second and third children. I begged, threatened, and cajoled my children to help me. I lost my temper when I found a basket of washed, dried, and folded clothes carelessly upended onto the floor. Every time I clean up my home, I am filled with grating antipathy for the world of physical science. Could we not have been dropped into a universe that tended toward order?
If Paul was a Jew among Jews, I am a first-born among first-borns. I live my life religiously. About twenty years ago, I went hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina with my family and some family friends. The place where we were hiking crossed a rocky bald where there were patches of sensitive lichen. A helpful sign instructed hikers to follow a trail of yellow painted dots to minimize the ecological impact of hundreds of booted feet. After a few minutes of ambulatory dot-to-dot, we sat down to look at the view. My mother, always aware of her children, had seen my careful attempts to minimize my lichen-impact, and teasingly asked if I was sitting on a dot.
The flow of the love of Jesus is the atomic signature of the Christ. An atomic signature is a unique array of electromagnetic waves or signals that every atom emits and absorbs that allows persons with the right equipment to identify anything on an elemental level. The body of Christ, in all its diversity is known by love. I do not mean only love given or received in the name of Christ, but love. The love of the Jew, the Greek, the Muslim, the agnostic, the addict, the sex worker, the evangelical, or the Pope is the signature of the living Christ, incarnate in us, come again.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
by Andrea Lingle
The leaves are falling from the trees here in the western North Carolina mountains. There have been piles of people flowing through our little town as people pause their lives to come experience the spectacle of gold and red against a cerulean sky (that’s a fabulous blue color).
But I didn’t.
There is a petition going around Facebook in my area. A power company has been cited for excessive disgustingness at their coal plant, and they are being required to clean up. To defray the cost of said clean up, they have proposed an upcharge to their customers.