Advent meditation: parables, fools, and poetry

Written for the Diocese of Ohio Advent meditations collection, Advent 2014 (see more at

Readings for Thursday of the First Week of Advent: Psalm 118: 19-24; Isaiah 26: 1-6; Matthew 7: 21-27

Rock of Ages

They called him a fool, building on sand,

but he knew that those dunes were rock, once,

weathered into sparkling, dangerous beauty,

shifting with time, surfing the earth in step

with his mortality; he knew that even bedrock

sags with age and sleep and generations.

His was the folly of an artist’s dream.

After the house fell, he would shake his fist

at the sky, and cry, and start over,

a parable in the futility of forever.

The other knew it, too.

He knew that rock erodes,

that the earth bucks and throws us off

with a shrug of its shoulder, a blow of its nostrils,

a wave. While the fool took the long view,

the wise man chose today to build,

knowing that nothing lasts except eternity,

that eternity lives in every present moment;

not a geological past nor an imagined future,

but now, the moment rejected by fools,

home to the Incarnate One forever.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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