What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning…
Suddenly a wall becomes a gate.
~Henri Nouwen from Gracias! A Letter of Consolation
As Christians we do not believe in walls,
but that life lies open before us;
that the gate can always be unbarred;
that there is no final abandonment or desertion.
We do not believe that it can ever be “too late.”
We believe that the world is full of doors that can be opened. Between us and others.
Between the people around us.
Between today and tomorrow.
Our own inner person can be unlocked too:
even within our own selves,
there are doors that need to be opened.
If we open them and enter,
we can unlock ourselves, too,
and so await whatever is coming to free us and make us whole.
~ Jörg Zink from “Doors to the Feast”
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
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, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
~T.S. Eliot from “Little Gidding” The Four Quartets
We stand outside the gate, incapable of opening it ourselves,
watching as God Himself throws it open wide.
We choose to enter this unknown unremembered gate
into the endless length of days,
or we choose to remain outside,
lingering in the familiar confines of what we know,
though it destroys us.
There we shall rest and we shall see;
we shall see and we shall love;
we shall love and we shall praise.
Behold what shall be in the end and shall not end.
~Augustine of Hippo
1 Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
behold, the King of glory waits;
the King of kings is drawing near;
the Savior of the world is here!
2 Fling wide the portals of your heart;
make it a temple, set apart
from earthly use for heaven’s employ,
adorned with prayer and love and joy.
3 Redeemer, come, with us abide;
our hearts to thee we open wide;
let us thy inner presence feel;
thy grace and love in us reveal.
4 Thy Holy Spirit lead us on
until our glorious goal is won;
eternal praise, eternal fame
be offered, Savior, to thy name!
This year’s Barnstorming Advent theme “… the Beginning shall remind us of the End” is taken from the final lines in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees”
A book of beauty in words and photography, available to order here:
One thought on “The Beginning Shall Remind Us of the End: Unlocked and Opened Wide”
This post is like a grand feast — heady, relevant readings/quotes designed to mesh with your Advent
theme. I keep going from one reading to the other and back again. Truly inspired, dear Emily.
You are on a roll — a blessed, nurturing ‘trip.’
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