Advent #1 Returning to the Father
Returning to the Source
Yesterday our faith community celebrated the first Sunday of Advent by considering Paul’s text to the Philippians “The Lord is near” (Phil 4:5). Following the service we practiced the reality of this truth by engaging in a food drive to serve our broader community. It entails visiting some 5,000 neighbourhood homes to collect food, sort it, and get it finally to the food bank. The winners are families (especially children!) who might have a little bit more to help them through an often bleak season.
It got me thinking about some of the deeper ramifications of Advent and its import as we trudge through our December days. Once again I turn to Thomas Merton who always seems to have an encouraging word:
One thing above all is important: the “return to the Father.”
The Son came into the world and died for us, rose and ascended to the Father; sent us His Spirit, that in Him and with Him we might return to the Father.
That we might pass clean out of the midst of all that is transitory and inconclusive: return to the Immense, the Primordial, the Source, the Unknown, to Him Who loves and knows, to the Silent, to the Merciful, to the Holy, to Him Who is All.”
Having pointed us in the right direction Merton concludes:
“To seek anything, to be concerned with anything but this is only madness and sickness, for this is the whole meaning and heart of all existence, and in this all the affairs of life, all the needs of the world, and of men and women, take on their right significance: all point to this one great return to the Source” (Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander).
Returning to the Father—returning to the Source—all because of the gracious descent of Christ that we might make the ultimate ascent to Abba. In a world of increasing violence, aggression, and apartheid, it is comforting to know that we benefit by a “return to Sender” policy to the One who Loves, Knows, and is the Source of us all.
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