December 2, 2018
The arrival of Advent reminds us that the Church is a people on the move in the service of a God who is on the move. Advent means coming, arrival, journeying. This reminder is critical if we are to understand, not just the spiritual dimension of the season, but the very nature of the Church herself.
To be on the move certainly excludes ‘going around in circles’. We are not just jittery and agitated, we have a direction and a path and a Leader and a destination. Neither does being on the move mean moving retracing our steps. As secure and comfortable as old things might be, there is no future in them – how obvious is that!
To be on the move means a daily process of letting go of what has been, setting out from where we have been, dying to what we have been; it means becoming new every day – even every minute. Or, at the very least, it means a willingness and a desire to grow. Being on the move precludes a search for comfort, a commitment to the status quo, the recreation of some past grandeur. Being on the move means realizing that truth is more than we know, goodness is more than we have achieved, beauty is more than we have imagined – that life is more than the living we make.
A famous English poet said – I have quoted him before – the enterprise is soul-sized, exploration into God. Refusing to move is just not worthy of a Christian, it is more becoming to a rock – or a corpse.
More mysterious is the notion of a God on the move. One of the least attractive visions of heaven involves everyone standing around the throne of God singing hymns all day long; as if God were the ‘still point in a changing universe’. But it is of the very nature of infinity to be as much pinpoint as sky; infinity as mini- as well as mega-.
If that geometricalmeditation escapes you, just think of the terms that Christian Faith uses for God – Father, Son and Spirit. These are terms of begetting, becoming and vital process; there is nothing static about God. Indeed, the old Greek Fathers used to talk about perichoresis in the Trinity, something akin to a square dance (lest anyone think that Lord of the Dance is just a modern, hippie-ish excess)!
I want to spend the weekends of Advent talking about the movements of the Christian life; or, better, dynamic
Christian living. We will use the dance of Trinitarian life to guide us in these reflections and, come Christmas, we will be ready to join more joyfully in the dance that accompanies the songs of the Angels. Or is it the other way ‘round?
Really and truly and movingly yours,