Roots: Advent

December 3

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
The roots of Jesus, and for all of us, are watered by Eden’s rain and fed by Eden’s sunshine. We began in the presence of God, without fear, without rebellion, without shame, and without hatred. Then, the first expressions of humankind, adam (meaning “ground” or “humankind”), used their will to make a choice that cut us off at the source, from the source, of our meaning. In that moment, as the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was bitten into, bitten through—we became lost.
Lost. Lost is a term of meaning, of inner orientation, as well as being a term of location. When we are lost in our meaning, in orientation, we have lost our sense of purpose, our reference points, our context. In the garden, we lost our context—that we are all majestic creatures, rivaling anything in the celestial wonderland we call our universe, loved by the Creator who made us. We lost meaning. We welcomed in the chaos from which the world was formed, and it took residence in our disrupted, discontented hearts. The Lord God called to the dust, to the ground, to the humans from the humus, “Where are you?” Our existential crisis, born from our sense of spiritual meaninglessness, had spun us around and left us wandering in the wasteland of our untamed desires. When Jesus came into the world, he came as the answer to the Creator’s question in the garden.
“Where are you?”
“Here, Father” said Jesus, “Here we are, your humanity.

Bring us back from exile; take us home.” Jesus then became our Bridge and our Guide home, as one of us, and as the Lord of us, cutting paths through the thick weeds of pride and unforgiveness and self-hatred and self-sufficiency growing wild in our hearts. On the clear-cut ground our Leader has made before us, we learn to walk. Pulled to the left and the right again and again, “prone to wander,” Lord, we feel it, “prone to leave the God” we love (from the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount”), Jesus comes to us this Advent to keep us on the path to life (Ps. 16:11). There is no other way not to be lost—no other way than to be found by Jesus—and guided safely home.
Jesus, the Way to Life, you are here with us right now as we sit in your presence and lift our hands to you for guidance. We don’t know the way home on our own; if you say “Where are you?” the best we can say in return is, “Here, Lord; find us, and take us home.” Jesus, take us home. In Jesus’ name, amen.
• We all wander in seasons of our lives. Can you think of a time in the past year when you were on the clear-cut path of life, but found yourself attracted back into the weeds once again? What reoriented you, reminded you, to stay on the path of life?

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