Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am packing my bags

In Japanese flower arranging (ikebana) it is said that the artist is arranging, not the stems or blossoms, but the space between the flowers. The emptiness is defined by the boundary of the blooms. And the flowers are, in turn, defined by the space between them.

Advent is like that for me. It is a time of emptiness that is defined by the rest of the church year. And it, in turn, is the empty space that defines all that is not Advent.

We, as Christians, are going into exile this week. We may light candles and go to "Messiah" sings in this season leading up to Christmas, but in reality, we wait in darkness. Emptiness. The emptiness that delineates our faith.

Last year, Advent was a painful time of feeling profoundly without. This year I believe things are different. This year I am packing my bags for the journey, knowing it takes me deep into the darkness of my own soul. But I know now that the darkness is not a place to fear. And I am coming to recognize, more and more, that living in exile is a necessary element of being a Christian.


juniper68 said...

this "space in between" metaphor is so helpful for the sermon I'm trying to write today about alpha and omega. thanks for this gift!

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I am so glad it helped!

For me, Japanese art in general has been a helpful metaphor in my life. I love the idea that within structure one finds immeasurable freedom.