Developing a Holy Squint
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Prayer of the Day: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection waken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” Mark 13:33.
Rev. Kyle Childress, a pastor and teacher I greatly admire, grew up and ministered most of his life in the state of Texas. He tells a story about an old rancher whose face was permanently sunburned and lined from decades of living outside. He had developed a “perpetual squint,” so that, daylight or dark, indoors or out, he always looked like he was squinting, looking across some pasture for a stray cow in the face of glaring sun and blowing wind. Squinting, looking into the distance for so many years had shaped his face. Indeed, it had shaped the way he looked at everything.
Pastor Childress goes on to reflect on how we are shaped by where our gaze is fixed and how the course of our lives is determined by who and by what we love, hope for and expect. Seems to me that is a good thought with which to start the new church year. It is a great parable through which to view the season of Advent. Truth is, we are shaped by our longings and what we desire determines how we live and how we treat each other.
In our gospel lesson for this Sunday, Jesus encourages his disciples to keep their gaze, their perpetual squint, on his coming. Read more