“The plan of the Lord stands forever” (Ps 33:20).
During a recent meeting at our church in which the topic was "feeling stuck," someone offered this advice from the Buddha: “Jump, and a bridge will appear.” It sounds a bit like “one hand clapping” to more pragmatic ears, but everyone recognized the truth of it in their own experience. There are times in life when you have done everything you reasonably can to find a way forward, feel blocked and out of ideas. The only thing left is to take a flying leap into the unknown.
The Advent readings today are filled with leaping. In the Song of Songs, lovers leap like mountain goats joyfully pursuing their beloved. Mary visits Elizabeth, two pregnant women and their unborn babies all together in a leap of faith that will change the course of history. In the great story of human striving and in the small stories of our personal lives, the road often just comes to a chasm we cannot cross. The best in us fails while the worst prevails. Reason and logic are exhausted before insurmountable problems and a loss of courage. We stand at the edge of our self-proscribed limits, looking out into a vast uncharted space whose possibilities have yet to be conceived. "Stop!" the mind cautions. "Don't be a fool!" “Jump!” the heart whispers. “A bridge will appear.”
That bridge, between despair and hope, human and divine, death and life, is Jesus, Word of God incarnate. Soon and very soon, our leap of faith will be required. Stay where we are and we die. Leap, and life begins anew, deeper and more wonderful than we could have ever imagined.