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A Distant View of Zion

While musing upon our hopes for Zion, I’m reminded of Peter’s languishing yearnings as a stranger and pilgrim in the earth—this foreign and outcast place we hesitatingly call home, though knowingly recognize as an orphanage for our pilgrimage. The compass of our soul seeks homeward, and we press forward through the dark mists and cold winds, searching for shelter and sunlight and succor. Occasionally the storm clouds part and the blue vault above comes into view, though momentarily, and it’s enough of a glimpse of the shores of Eden to beckon us onward.

A morsel here, and a crust of bread there, sustains us from passage to passage as we navigate the eddies and undertow of life, while in search of eternal life. Along the treacherous and windswept coasts, we find harbors and pastures which offer rest and recuperation, enough to strengthen us for further voyages, with sufficient encouragement to raise our sails again in search of fine breezes blowing Zionward.

When in good sailing we rejoice over many things, and our hearts are drawn out all the day long in prayerful thanksgiving and gratitude for God’s loving-kindness, and for His ever-present concern, and everlasting erudition. We are want to seek Him in daylight and dark, knowing that on other coming days, the billowing surge will conspire against us once again and, while wave-tossed, our anxious cries will reach His ears because our erstwhile desires were turned towards Him.

Even while tossed upon tempestuous seas, or marooned upon our misgivings, we know to whom we have looked for redemption, and in whose name we seek rescuing relief. So whether we find ourselves adrift (where once sure anchors have been dislodged), or stranded in some seemingly lonely landscape (because our vistas have expanded beyond our expectations), we may know—just as Peter knew or as Abraham knew—that God will take the pilgrim in hand and lead him along a brighter path towards the land of promise, even if the assemblage of our fellow parishioners are content to live in palpable disparity, while we seek the sunlit land.

Courage brightens hope, which illuminates our faith to take that next pioneering step forward, over mountains following upon expansive valleys, even as we tremble in meekness looking beyond the horizon, where stunning views bring into sight the city on the hill—which filled our dreams and thoughts—though we dared not breathe such desires aloud. And while gazing at the gloriously lit grandeur of the city’s silhouette, we fall upon our knees and palms knowing, at last, that our faith-filled journey was not in vain, even if it seemed as though we had to walk alone.

Thereafter, we begin to notice others scattered upon the surrounding hills, each one posed awestruck at the surreal sight, and reflecting back in memories’ halls upon the choices to move forward toward Zion, even when well-intended friends or family were content to rest under the boughs of a winter’s barren sycamore. The former concerns and worries about the choices to press forward are now assuaged, swallowed up and left behind in exchange for the joyous scenery, and we arise and eagerly move towards the welcoming entrance, where our hands are clasped in sacred salutation, and fresh apparel awaits.

J.B.
12.18.10

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