Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Dangerous Journey

Read Isaiah 2:1-5

Once again, we begin our dangerous journey to Bethlehem.

Dangerous - for we are asked to leave all those comfortable shadows of life and welcome with open arms the Light that comes to us. Dangerous - because we will be challenged to quit ndulging in those life-long habits of quarreling, jealousy, putting down those around us,
so we can live in such a way that others will have no doubt about the love, the respect, the gratitude we have for them.

Dangerous - as we are asked (no, begged!) by God to take all those weapons of mass destruction (our sharp tongues, our turned backs, our angry looks) and turn them into whispers of grace, of welcoming hugs, of smiles that light up all creation.

Besides this, we are asked called to let go of all our mapquest and GPS gizmos, and find alternative paths to Bethlehem.

We know how to get to the mall with our eyes closed. Now, we are asked to go down those unfamiliar streets, to risk getting lost (and not worrying about it) as we look for the coming One. We bump our ways over the potholes of popularity, but God wants us to turn down the side alleys of faithful discipleship, looking for those who are sitting on the curb, their pockets full of poverty and their hearts emptied of hope, so we will stop and open our hearts and give them a ride to the kingdom.

That prophet of Advent, Isaiah, tells us that in this season of commercials, sales, and consumer debt, God longs to teach us different ways, to instruct us with a Word that can transform our very lives, to show us the paths of wisdom (and courage) which will lead us straight to Bethlehem.

For some, it will mean walking a path called patience, when we are so much more comfortable giving into the fatigue and stress which allows us to be extra crabby. Others are asked to walk down that path called faith, as neighbors and friends gently laugh at us for believing that old,
old story and for daring to let it guide our lives. Still others will find ourselves walking the cracked sidewalks which lead to the corner of Hunger and Hopelessness, where we might be able to change the street names to Grace and Joy.

Once again, we begin our dangerous journey to Bethlehem. Are you ready?

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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