Monday, November 14, 2005

Late Autumn Longing

My lawn is now afire with maple leaves, and the days darken so quickly that I turn on my reading lamp at 1:30. I begin to fret about the oncoming winter, and yet at the same time a longing is reborn in my soul for that joy which is found only in Advent and Christmastide. It is a healing of a fracture in the soul, which formed itself in suffering and confusion. It is a longing for union with God, a union no other philosophy, aesthetic, or religion can supply. I sense it emerging within me as a hollow space which demands the presence of the Spirit to fill it, and which will not be denied. It is fostered by sacred music, by poetry, by worship, by reading. It signals the death of my prodigal wandering, and I am glad, even in the lengthening shadows. Joy is longing. Joy is the resumption of desire for communion and for spiritual things. Joy is the observance of the death of sin's allure.

This is not my doing. This is God's covenant faithfulness to the Spirit's articulation of the heart's groaning. This restlessness for God is placed within the heart, and cannot be gainsaid. It can be, however, corrupted and turned into a longing for certainty, for absolute clarity, and for the infinity of knowledge which belongs properly only to the Triune Majesty. How tawdry and vulgar seems the world when it is bleached of the divine, and enmeshed in the pursuit of vanity. How grateful I am to feel the centripetal force of divine longing, and how ashamed of the many hours and days spent fleeing the one thing which brings joy, and the one thing which renders all earthly joys clean. As Jane Kenyon wrote,
Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.


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