Saturday, December 09, 2006

Second Sunday of Advent

God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground...
Baruch 5:1-9

Someone driving through Oklahoma on I-35 could be forgiven for believing it is basically flat, because few mountains – much less hills – are visible from the interstate.   Oklahoma has what are known as old mountains.   These are mountains that have been worn down by geological forces such as wind and rain, to the point that they seem no more than hills.

Yet,   it's all a matter of perspective.   I grew up in the relatively flat centrally located   capital city.   At least twice a year, my family would drive south on Highway 77, part of which ran through Turner Falls.   Turner Falls was a park area which included a winding road through hillsides.    This road did not have guard rails; as a young boy looking out the passenger window, I thought the car would go over the edge at any minute.

There are times I feel like the old mountains of Oklahoma. There are times when it seems the demands of the business world have worn me down. There are times when my personality and personal choices seem to have been washed away by a desire to “fit in” with a particular culture at a particular time. There are times when it seems the “real me” will fall over the edge at any minute.

The prophets Baruch and Isaiah seem to promise that God will make life a smooth path, easily navigable. The valleys will be filled up, and the mountains brought low.   I think these verses may have more to do with my internal geography than actual valleys and mountains.

Where my ego has become puffed up and mountainous, it will be brought low. Where my gifts have been buried by social or internal pressures, they will be raised up. What is called for is a renewed perspective: that I seek to perceive this internal terrain from God's perspective, rather than my own or society's.

Prayer.   Blessed are you, Lord God. Blessed are you, for you erode my pride and sustain my gifts. Blessed are you, seeing me fully and truly.   Blessed are you for your indwelling Spirit. Blessed are you for the gift of Wisdom.   Blessed are you that my eyes be cleansed to see with the clarity of your Spirit. I pray in your Holy Name. Amen.

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