Our Common Life…

“….prepare the way for the Lord…..a highway for our God.”

                                                                                    -Isaiah 40

I’ve occasion to drive from Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin, from time to time.  It has something to do with a 3 year old granddaughter who lives there.

If it’s daylight, I’m always taken aback when I drive by Dickeyville in the far southwest corner of Wisconsin – just a few miles north of Dubuque.  US Highway 151 rises fairly rapidly from its river level crossing of the Mississippi, but as the road passes Dickeyville (which sits on high ground, relative to the river), it must rapidly descend to the level of the Little Platte River (or some small tributary thereof) – more or less the same elevation as the Mississippi.  To accomplish this the civil engineers who designed the highway decided not to take a circuitous (and therefore more gradually declining) route, but to make a dramatic cut through the bluff on which the town sits.  The manmade gorge through which the highway descends to the stream below always brings to my mind this passage from Isaiah 40 – “Every valley shall be lifted up and every hill be made low.”  It’s a dramatic illustration of what the writer meant when he counseled a metaphoric buying amoxicillin project of civil engineering to facilitate access for God Almighty.

And in a sense, that’s what Advent is – a time of spiritual engineering to open ourselves to the experience of the Divine. 

I suppose we all require a different sort of engineering to pull this off.  It may be easier for you than it is for me, but I’ve always found the experience of the Holy to be somewhat elusive.  Recently, however, I’ve begun some new disciplines toward that end – quarterly personal retreats and spiritual direction.  I don’t claim any dramatic transformation (my renowned grumpiness seems to remain intact, alas), but somehow I’m finding that these new disciplines are intriguing – I want to continue to pursue them and to experience whatever and wherever they may take me.

Who knows….maybe they’ll take to a different encounter with God – one that transforms me and makes me more the disciple Christ longs for me to be. 

My Advent prayer for you is a renewed openness to an unexpected encounter with God.  May your hills be made low and your valleys high.  May God come to you in this Advent season in exactly the way you need.

 With Hope!

Rich Pleva, Conference Minister

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