Tuesday, July 17, 2012

But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

I used to love to fly fish, back when I lived in Boise, Idaho.  The truth is, what I really loved was the experience of standing in the middle of a river.  I would love to go out, in the middle of the week sometime, when the temperatures were just beginning to soar into the mid-90's, and I would step from a dry dusty bank, into a cool gurgling brook.  And there I would stand, right in the middle.  On the other side of the river was another shore, and yet I didn't really feel I wanted to totally cross.  The other bank was too far, too hard for me to cross into.  Behind me was the shore I had just come from.  Before stepping into the river, I was usually a bit stressed out from school, tired from a long day, burdened by whatever was on my mind.  So, I didn't want to go back, because that would mean the fishing trip would be over, and I would be returning to where I had come from.  But there I was in the middle of the river.  In those days it was almost as if I had;

One Foot in the Wilderness, the Other in the Promised Land.

One of my favorite songs of all time is the rock ballad, by U2, "But I still haven't found what I'm looking for."  The song lyrics reflect mournfully about the strange juxtaposition in this life between having all of the things that we think we want (or ever wanted), and somehow feeling slightly unfulfilled.  The lyrics go; I have climbed highest mountain, I have run through the fields, Only to be with you, Only to be with you, I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, These city walls, Only to be with you, But I still haven't found what I'm looking for, But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.  In these lyrics, the singer Bono seems to be recognizing the challenge in this life, of never really getting to the place where you want to be, deep down into your heart.  It is as if Bono is reflecting on the challenge of having,

One Foot in the Wilderness, the Other in the Promised Land.

There are many holidays which I love.  You can't beat the fourth of July for a family BBQ.  Thanksgiving is wonderful when you are in a place that is snowy and cold.  Easter is so pregnant with freshness and newness.  However, truth be told, my favorite holiday in the year is the Christian season of Advent.  Advent are the five weeks which proceed Christmas.  Advent comes from the latin word, Adventus, which means, "to wait for."  The main concept of advent is that we are all waiting for the savior to come into the world, the baby Jesus.  The reason I love advent is because it is not quite Christmas, and it is not Thanksgiving either.  It is somewhere in-between.  Advent is a time where we have;

One Foot in the Wilderness, the Other in the Promised Land.

During the long war years of World War II, in Great Britain, the Medieval English Oxford Don and Professor (and would be theologian)  C.S. Lewis gave great talks to huge crowds about Christianity.  One of C.S. Lewis' main talks, and one which was made into a great movie was, "Shadowlands."  C.S. Lewis' talk on Shadowlands is an explanation of Plato's cave, the shadows which were reflected on the wall of our lives.  Plato was talking about the ineffable existence of life.  C.S. Lewis said, "We live in the Shadowlands.  Over the brow of a hill, around the bend in the road, what we seek after, eludes us.  We have not yet attained it yet."  C.S. Lewis seemed to be referring to the fact that all of us have;

One Foot in the Wilderness, the Other in the Promised Land.

This coming week, I will be preaching on the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites.  For 440 years, the Israelites had had hopes and dreams about crossing into the promised land.  And now they were about to do it.  The Lord told the Israelite priests to go before the people and carry the ark of the covenant with them.  As the priests crossed into the river, the Bible tells us that it instantly dried up, by some great miracle, and the people walked on dry ground.  When the priests reached the middle of the river, we are told, that they stopped, they lifted up the ark above their heads.  And then they praised God.  Moments later, they would build an altar in the middle of the river.  And there they worshipped God.  In that moment, the Israelites knew what it was to have;

One Foot in the Wilderness, the Other in the Promised Land

And so do we.  The balance of these two places in our lives is what it means to be human, and what it means to be a Christ follower.  We are not in the wilderness anymore, and we are not in the promised land yet either.

All For Now,

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