"It just makes a boy homesick to look ahead like that and see how far off summer is...Don't you know what that is? It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want -- oh, you don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer; you want to go wandering far away to strange countries where everything is mysterious and wonderful and romantic. And if you can't do that, you'll put up with considerable less; you'll go any- where you CAN go, just so as to get away, and be thankful of the chance, too." - Mark Twain in Tom Sawyer, Detective
How often do we go about life with an aching sense, or maybe it's a fully formed question - is there something more? Something that will finally make sense or our work-a-day existence, someone who will make life truly worth living, some new experience or new season that will bring joy to our dreary life.
Huck Finn, the narrator in the passage above, seems to know exactly what it is he longs for - summer! And, yet as he contemplates his longings, it becomes less clear to him that summer alone is what makes his heart ache. Maybe it is swimming in a pond in the heat of summer, or maybe it's getting away, being a wanderer, perhaps mystery or romance...he is no longer certain. All he knows is there is the great longing that "sets" upon him in the spring.
I think Twain writes this with confidence that all of his readers, if they're honest, and the least bit introspective will be able to sympathize with Huck's longing.
I do. And, I think you do as well.
This Advent we're starting a series of sermons entitled "Longing for More." Advent is a time to recognize that we are longing-beings and to consider again the gap between longing and fulfillment that never seems to fully close.
Why is that? Are we destined to forever roam the earth pursuing the satisfaction of our longings only to be frustrated time and time again?
This is what we're considering during Advent, and tomorrow we begin with our Longing for Love. I hope you'll join us at Intown tomorrow morning or if that's not possible, join us online as the sermons are posted in the coming weeks.