Friday, December 22, 2006

An Advent Meditation

Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fourier's and Bellamy's and Morris's uptopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far-off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torment, what except a specifical and independent sort of emotion can it be which would make us immediately feel, even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjoyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?

All the higher, more penetrating ideals are revolutionary. They present themselves far less in the guise of effects of past experience than in that of probable causes of future experience, factors to which the environment and the lessons it has so far taught us must learn to bend.
--William James

O Ruler of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart, O Keystone of the mighty arch of humankind: Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

from Luke 1 (REB)

68 Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel
For he has turned to his people and set them free.

69 He has raised for us a strong deliverer from the house of his servant David.

70 So he promised: age after age he proclaimed by the lips of his holy prophets,

71 that he would deliver us from our enemies, out of the hands of all who hate us;

72 that, calling to mind his solemn covenant, he would deal mercifully with our fathers.

73 This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,

74 to rescue us from enemy hands and set us free from fear, so that we might worship

75 in his presence in holiness and righteousness our whole life long.

76 And you, my child, will be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will be the Lord's forerunner, to prepare his way

77 and lead his people to a knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins:

78 for in the tender compassion of our God the dawn from heaven will break upon us,

79 to shine on those who live in darkness, under the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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