Climb Time’s Ruins to Grasp the Timeless

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The technologies of construction and destruction teach us about two kinds of strategic bombing. Constructive bombing uses explosives to move earth, rock, or other materials to prepare the ground not only for building, but for exploration and discovery. Destructive bombing depends on missiles or missile-equipped aircraft to clear the way for ground invasion and to destroy enemy morale for eventual surrender.

Both methods are intended to end one temporary way of life to make way for another one. But we are being called to prepare the way for the advent of life beyond time. Sunday’s readings dramatize the process. Isaiah used his prophecies to soften our hearts for that Godly invasion.

Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (IS 40:1-5, 9-11)

Isaiah’s prophecy was intended to level us—put us all on the same plain so we can more easily hear God’s word and then spread it the way Isaiah did: by climbing over our ruins to reach higher ground. As he adds, that higher elevation provides the perfect platform and acoustics for such sharing:

Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!

Sharing God by word-of-mouth and act-of-hand may seem inefficient in this age of instant telecommunications, but its timelessness is more penetrating than the shallow bottom-scraping of our time-sensitive Internet bombardments. As the author of the Second Book of Peter reminds us—as an audience separated from him by centuries—“with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.” (2 PT 3:8-14)

That’s how good strategists think—not by the minute, but by their soul’s lifetime. By that measure, readiness must always be NOW, and believers in that timeless spirit have the blessing of centuries of preparation for it—wrapped up in the writings of saints and prophets.

Those of us guided by our modern culture’s flavor-of-the-minute lifestyle management have sentenced themselves to life inside a moving target that’s easily dispatched by evil. God wants us to rethink our surrender to that fate so He can steal us away from the ruins of this world’s false and fragile gods. Only then can we rise to his plain and see beyond ourselves as John the Baptist does in Sunday’s gospel reading:

“One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (MK 1:1-8)

Once the remains of our indestructible righteousness are excavated from the ruins of this world’s false gods, we can more easily be assumed into God’s Holy Spirit—just in time to join in the advent of life beyond time.

–Tom Andel


  1. Because God and heaven are timeless it seems so illogical how busy many of us are trying to “keep up” with everything going on around us. Many of us are leading lives of quiet desperation.

    The devil knows the busier we are, the less connection we will have with what is most important. Our relationship with Jesus!

    This Advent season, try to chill out, take a step back and really try to put emphasis on what matters most. Spend some extra time with the Lord. In an adoration chapel or in church near the tabernacle. Pray to Him. Talk to Him.

    He really is amazing!!

    • Our busy schedules starve our souls of what they hunger for. Miracles happen every day, right in front of us. If we’d only let meditative prayer open our eyes.

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