Friday, December 01, 2006

First Sunday of Advent - C4

Year C
Luke 21:25-36

Justice and Righteousness show up in all manner of guises. Here we are faced with an image of Jesus on a cloud with Power and Glory [a reference to Moses and Elijah from Mt. Transfiguration?]. Another way to speak of this would be one who appeared with energy to do something about which one has a perspective. Even though the Greek has these both to be feminine nouns, we might yet translate them as Justice and Righteousness.

One approach to this cloud scene is that of a remote judge and executioner come to impose a final solution upon sinners and the afflicted. Another is to envision a new-born, a re-born, that empowers and clarifies creativity and choices. We can stop moping around, feeling helpless, and stand and look about us with a clear eye and energy to pick a direction that has hope to make earth as though heaven had arrived. Imagine again - a community gathered around a birth rather than an individual enrobed.

It is with the possibilities of energetic renewal that offers again strength to out-wait the dissipation and despair trap of being too fearful to stand and look and choose. The image we attend to makes all the difference.

This is imaged with foreground and background interaction with a lowly fig leaf and the mysterious majesty of a turning season. To link the parable in we see Creative Power of Justice and Righteousness coming on a fig leaf. When this is glimpsed, the summer of our lives leads us to come away from the ice of winter and the flood of spring to a summer where we raise our heads to grow anew.

The cloud image shifts from harvest judgment to profligate abundance twice to a hundred times more than we began with. It turns out the rider(s) of the cloud arrives with fertilizer, not a scythe. A question now is how much justice (acts of mercy) and righteousness (acts of piety) our roots will gather for our health, how high we will raise our head, how tasty and nutritious we will become.

What are the words of life if not Justice and Righteousness, Steadfast Love and Faithfulness, Blamelessness and Holiness, Power and Glory, Peace and Security, Fig Leaf and Summer.

= = = = = = =

In a fig leaf is summer seen
A scene of life reveals its context
divine fertilizer abundant
roots deep and wide
clear eyes and choices wise
In growth eternity glimpsed

and so we yearn or pray -
deep clarity of justice
wide wisdom of righteousness
awaited, revealed, enacted

1 comment:

  1. It is with the possibilities of energetic renewal that offers again strength to out-wait the dissipation and despair trap of being too fearful to stand and look and choose. The image we attend to makes all the difference.

    Dissipation and despair are like someone laying in the street bleeding. Waiting is no good. None.

    Waiting is appropriate for something growing, a seed planted, a hope born in imagination. Then nurturing is the order of the day, and patient waiting/watching/attending.

    Standing fearful, looking and choosing, is already making a choice: fear. The choice is fear. Not a good choice, I think.

    The cloud image shifts from harvest judgment

    Is it really judgement? Or common sense? Who wants to bake bread with chaff? Chaff is irrelevant. The church is becoming chaff.

    to profligate abundance twice to a hundred times more than we began with.

    You mean there is more than enough for everyone to be "wealthy" beyond their wildest dreams? This is good.

    What are the words of life if not Justice and Righteousness,

    Who decides what is just? What is righteous? I can't. But no one can do it for me either.

    Steadfast Love and Faithfulness,

    What happens if we take the word "steadfast" out of there? And love of what? Faithfulness to what? Lots of people are faithful to that which deserves no fidelity.

    Blamelessness and Holiness,

    Persons with clinical Borderline Personality Disorder feel, all the way through, blameless. So do sociopaths. So to innocent children. There's more to it than this. I don't always know what that is, but there's more to it.

    Power and Glory,

    Save me. Unless you are referring to the power and glory of the early December snowstorm that blew in this morning, followed by a clear blue sky that rendered the view out my patio door completely stunningly gratitude-inspiring.

    Peace and Security,

    That is my prayer. Can these two co-exist?

    Fig Leaf and Summer.

    I'd prefer to dance totally naked beneath warm summer skies, no fig leaf, thank you. Still working on entrenched cultural inhibitions, but given the right combination of privacy and warmth...

    Tom

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