As I’m adjusting to being again in full-time ministry in a parish and all that brings this time of year, along with moving house, and tending to a senior dog who appears to be declining in health, getting my Tuesday (Wednesday?) posts out is taking more forethought and intentionality. I don’t say any of this to invoke sympathy or to complain but simply to lay out the reasons that this post is a day late. I am so very grateful for my parish, for our new home, for the many years of joy and companionship our dog has brought us, and for each and every one of you who give of your precious time to read my words. Life is an amazing journey following Jesus in God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven and I’m so glad you are with me.
Have you ever been to Yosemite National Park? It is one of my most favorite places on earth. Did you know the beauty of The Valley was cut by the long, slow, continuous movement of a glacier? Another one of my favorite things is a pearl. Now, I’m sure you are asking what on earth do glaciers and pearls have to do with each other (either that or you are wondering if I’ve had enough coffee yet today)? And I’m so glad you asked.
Glaciers and pearls are two metaphors (albeit limited, as all metaphors are) I’ve been thinking about as I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs from the collection of books we refer to as the Old Testament. The movement of glaciers over time sculpt a beauty deep beneath surface. Pearls begin as something undesirable and are transformed into a precious gem.
The beauty of Wisdom isn’t something that can be instantly attained, it takes a lifetime of sculpting and transformation. What we do with our time and where we focus our attention matters.
Proverbs 4:23-27, Common English Bible
More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth; keep devious lips far from you. Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you. Watch your feet on the way, and all your paths will be secure. Don’t deviate a bit to the right or the left; turn your feet away from evil.
The information we consume every moment of every day shapes us whether we realize it or not. I’m so very grateful to have discovered the wisdom that life is not a series of isolated events but a continuous journey of growth. I don’t just move from one event to the next (even when my calendar is full to overflowing) but I do my best with God’s help to inhabit with intentionality every moment, looking for the image of God in all people and being aware of God’s presence everywhere. And when I stumble or get bogged down in “what’s next” or lose sight of Jesus, I am so very grateful to know God is with me in these times, too.
I said last week that I wasn’t sure what this book of Wisdom we call Proverbs and Advent had to do with each other and here’s what I’m beginning to discover. In this season of Advent we are to wait and watch for Christ, The One, the Prince of Peace, our Savior, God with us, Emmanuel. The world says all that we need to make us happy can be purchased and that we have to work and move faster and faster to prove ourselves worthy of the next thing we will need to buy to be happy. Advent and the book of Proverbs remind us we are glacier valleys, carved and transformed by time and intent, keeping our lives centered on God. The world says we should instantly remove and discard anything and everything that isn’t “happiness.” Advent and the book of Proverbs both remind us we are like a pearl, that as we follow Jesus we learn how God transforms that which we find less than tolerable into precious beauty that can’t come about any other way.
One thought on “Glaciers and Pearls”
Thank you for sharing your time, thoughts and insightful messages. Love the imagery of developing wisdom in much the same way pearls and glaciers are formed.
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