The picture above is a piece of modern sculpture entitled "Another Place" by British artist Antony Gormley located at Crosby Beach in Merseyside, England. It consists of 100 cast iron figures facing towards the sea, along a mile of coastline. The figures are modelled on the artist's own naked body and are staring out across the waves, strangely motionless. Completely passive to the encroaching sea, a hundred heads solemnly face the horizon unwavering, whatever the state of the tide. The statues are oblivious of the swirling waters, of the crabs nipping at their feet, of intrigued observers. (Susanna Gunner, Mapping Advent 1)
As I listened to Pray as you Go this morning and the words of Isaiah 11. 1 - 10 about the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion all lying down together led by the little child, the question came up "Where do you find yourself this Advent?" and "Is there a gift or a quality you wish to ask of the Lord this day?" and I ask further "Do I find myself in a world where natural enemies lie together peacefully...where "the nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den"?
The world where all these enemies co-exist is the world God created for us. And in this Advent season, this time of new beginnings, I find myself needing to focus on the places where this peace can exist, guided by spirit and understanding, counsel and strength, sharing the Love of God, the promise of God with us, the hope of God's peace in order to remind myself and others that there is Hope and we can be bearers of that Hope.
And so I ask God for the gift of focus, that I might be completely attentive to the watching and waiting of Advent, watching for the "other place" of God's Kingdom come among us.