I've been listening and discerning the Spirit since the hear of my sabbatical. I've exhausted Dianne's profound patience talking about my questions. And I have awoken in the middle of the night for months trying to grasp what the Lord is quietly inviting me into.
So, today, after midday Eucharist, as "the brothers" gathered (no sisters showed up today) to talk about the hard-ass message of John the Baptist, I got a clue. When I walked to the back of the Sanctuary to turn out the lights - and noticed where some of our youth had placed the wooden figures of the Magi on their journey towards the birth of Christ - the clue became clearer. Later, as I spoke with a trusted and beloved younger colleague, another layer of uncertainty was resolved. And then at a late mezze dinner with my sweet Di it all fell into place.
It is very clear to me that the radical, counter-cultural faith, hope and love of Jesus is aching for renewal in this realm. The hatred, demagoguery and fear that fills the air needs more and more women and men committed to a gentle and healing alternative. And this challenge must be born of tenderness and peace - not fear or tradition power-politics - a willingness to suffer but also celebrate, too.
This picture from Chanukah 1931 in Germany speaks volumes to me about what will ripen if an bold, creative and loving alternative is not advanced in moments like our own.
And so a new part of the journey begins... as I wrote earlier: This picture expresses the essence of this season for me: quiet, faithful waiting for God's peace born from the inside and then shared with creation in gratitude. Peace is aching to be born, hope is waiting for new expressions. And like Mary it begins within.