Greetings to all in the Kaffeeklatsch!
As usual, our gracious host sparked a bit of reflection by the Chaps, with this intriguing post. For many Christians, this past Sunday began the season of Advent: a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth – and reflecting on His second coming. The word is first used in the 12th century, to name this season. (For those interested, Merriam-Webster Online has details here.)
This sentence in ST’s post: “[S]ometimes our present is unintelligible without the future to redefine our past.”, set me to thinking. I was reminded of earlier discussions about the necessity of living ‘heart open, present always” known around here as “The Simon Tao” [TST]. The idea of past truth/meaning only being revealed fully through the unfolding of the future – as an interpretive key – brought me to the idea of patience. An early mentor-in-print, Fr. Henri Nouwen defined ‘patience’ as: “waiting actively, with expectation”.
“All well and good, Chaps”, you may say, “but how does this desire to live ‘heart open, present always’ while waiting actively, expecting everything, fit into God’s plan for my life?” So glad you asked! For most of my life as a believer, I thought of “God’s plan” as firmly set from on high. I felt it was immutable, unalterable, and that I had no say in the living-out of it. That idea can either be infuriating or strangely pacifying. Neither of these two alternatives makes for hope.
Over the past several years, my current pastor – a retired military chaplain, and Scripture scholar – pointed me to a path that routes around both of these blind alleys. He reminded us that: “There is no division of time in God. All time is present to God, at all times.” So, our lives are “written in His book”. Our trajectory – toward or away from Him – is consistent, but not closed – until we draw our last breath. The freedom we have in choosing, moment-by-moment is God’s gift that allows us to invite Him into our days – heart open, present always – in love and hope.
Until next time, Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas! (Happy Chanukah, too!)