Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shuffle the Deck

Imagine you’re a Bedouin. You live in a tent and hang out with sheep and camels. You never plant fields. You’re most at home in the desert moving from scene to scene. Free. And you've made yourself wealthy trading incense that replaces the stench of animal dung with its fragrant aroma.

After thousands of nights spent gazing at the sky, you’ve memorized the stars' patterns. Every night at least once you glance wistfully to the west, recalling to mind something the sages recited to you in your childhood and which you now teach your many descendants. It’s a promise given to your Jewish cousins:

“Arise! Shine! For your light arrives! The splendor of the Lord shines on you! For, look, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness covers the nations, but the Lord shines on you; his splendor appears over you. Nations come to your light, kings to your bright light. Look all around you! They all gather and come to you –your sons come from far away and your daughters are escorted by guardians. Then you will look and smile, you will be excited and your heart will swell with pride. For the riches of distant lands will belong to you and the wealth of nations will come to you. Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord” (Isa. 60:1-6).

Then one night it's there—blazing on the Western horizon! A star you’ve never seen! Can it be? It’s brighter than a planet, and it moves.

What does it mean to you? What do you do?

In case you're wondering what this exercise is all about, here's the scoop.

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