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First Week in Advent: Thursday

Todays readings:

Psalm 43:3

Genesis 5:22-24

Hebrews 11:15 - 16

Not, it has to be said, the most straight forward to read for a glimpse of hope, it has to be said.  Methuselah's longevity (the Genesis) and the opportunity to turn back (Hebrews) are a tad odd to say the least, when read, as they are, out of context.  So it has to be the psalm:

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

In this plea, for guidance and direction (is that tautologous? probably), must be an underlying hope - that if God does indeed send forth light and truth, then direction can be found.  At this dark time of year, we are always glad to lights to show us the way, to keep our feet (or our cars) on track. 

Whenever I read texts like this one, I am reminded of the old, old, hymn 'lead kindly light'...

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
lead thou me on;
the night is dark, and I am far from home;
lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose, and see my path; but now
lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
will lead me on,
o'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone,
and with the morn those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I cannot honestly say I completely understand the hymn, but the last part of the first verse - "I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me" -  always speaks to me.  We don't need a super highway with glaring lights, so that the ultimate destination is in clear view, all we need, all we desire, is light enough for the next step.  The hope, then, is that the light to show us that next step will be there.

God of truth and light, in the foggy reality of daily life, when the way forward is so often obscured from view, grant us light enough to take the next step, and then the next, until, in your time, we reach our destination.  Amen.

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