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Second Sunday of Advent

December 11, 2017

NEWNESS IN THE DESERT

Years ago, I was assigned to the deserts of Southern New Mexico.  Only after living there for a time, did I understand why it was often in the desert where our ancestors encountered God.

The desert is a place of simplicity and poverty – a place where all the distractions go away.  I would often go out for long runs through the desert in the cool of the morning.  In the beginning, it was almost unnerving because I felt so exposed.   The desert requires a unique balance of confidence and humility.  Because too much confidence got your in trouble and too much humility would keep you inside all day long.

Not only are there no distractions – no building on the horizon, no clouds in the sky, not hustle and bustle, but there is nothing to be attached to.

The people whom I met in New Mexico were often from this part of the world.  The went to reinvent themselves, many of whom are now artists, writers, farmers, and artisans.  But only discovered the art in them after a period of time.

You see, we need silence and stillness in order to hear our inner voice – the voice of God.  It is the same reason John went out into the desert – so that his voice could be heard clearly.  Of course, the people who went to see him couldn’t just drop in, they went out to see him.

And that is the thing about the desert – you don’t understand it in five minutes.  You have to dwell in it for a period of time before the simplicity allows you to see yourself for who you really are and who you really want to be.

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