These are days...

For the longest time I was NOT a Natalie Merchant fan.  It was a generational thing, but her music - like the times - didn't seem to go anywhere.  It rambled and swooped and then... ended. I've changed my take on sister Natalie, however, as I've gotten more into wandering and waiting myself and now appreciate her on many levels.

Actually, I though of her music while reading this spiritual reflection by Anthony Robinson yesterday:

I love the song, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder, we are climbing Jacob's ladder . . . every rung goes higher, higher, every rung goes higher, higher." But on reading the actual story in Genesis, I noticed something. We human beings aren't the ones climbing the ladder. It is angels, messengers of God, who are ascending and descending the ladder from heaven to earth. So what?

We can get the idea that it is all about us climbing ladders, whether worldly or spiritual. Getting to the right neighborhood, the right job or school. Becoming more spiritual can be another ladder to climb. We can get the idea that by our resolute and steady climbing, we shall attain some God place. Except our story says something different. It says that God comes down to this place, to our place, wherever that place may be. And then we, with Jacob, stammer in astonished surprise, "Surely God is in this place and I did not know it."

The popular author Karen Armstrong, in a recent book, urges that true religion is our human search for an ultimately unknowable God. Reading this, I thought, the gospel says something different. It says that God has come in search of us. In Jesus, God comes down the ladder to find us, even when we aren't very "spiritual," even when we are lost and on the run.

I thank thee, O God, that the good news is not about my upward climb, but about your downward descent; that faith begins when we, though like Jacob lost and on the run, are found by you. Amen.

These days both Natalie and Anthony are speaking truth to my ministry...


Philomena Ewing said…
RJ - great post. I love this one about descent rather than ascent !! I try to hold them both in tension but not in the sense of striving and clambering over one another as if trying to score points on some heavenly scoreboard in the sky
For me it's more like Oscar Wilde quote :
We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
Hope that makes some sense.
RJ said…
Totally Philomena and I am glad for the Wilde quote; I will use it tonight in my "basics refresher class" as we talk about Jesus in Incarnation and Resurrection. Many thanks and blessings right back at ya!
Black Pete said…
My quote is less sublime than Phil's. Referring to Anthony and Karen, I'm reminded of the inane breath mint/candy mint commercial of years (decades?) ago: "Stop! You're both right!!" ;)
RJ said…
smiles and pops a breath mint in and enjoys it fully - "tastes great, too" I think but wait... that's another commercial, yes? thanks, my man.

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