Herod and Little Gidding

Today, we spent time with Herod. Not a comfortable Advent theme – but then, Advent is not about comfort. As usual, Patient Colleague preached extremly well, giving us ways of considering what it  might look like to “take another way”.

As one who is chronically lost, I feel some expertise in “taking another way”; indeed, Proper Historian, in the days when he couldn’t drive, and we went together to conferences, often commented that he got tours of parts of the country he had never expected to see. (My riposte was that it was boring to come home the same way we had gone out…)

So – Advent as a time to feel lost. An advent theme I might feel comfortable with, or at least accustomed to….

It’s true I no longer panic when I am not sure where I am.

But it always nice to find the destination….

Which takes me to another poem; this time Stanza V of Little Gidding, by TS Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.


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