Saturday Week 1 of Advent (St Ambrose)

Did you notice how over the top Isaiah sounds when he’s trying to raise the expectations of a defeated, disillusioned people? No longer the bread of suffering and the water of distress—instead a world transformed and full of every heart’s desire: water for the thirsty, pasture for the animals, bread to satisfy a hungry soul, light to scatter the deepest darkness. Oh and a God who walks beside you whispering the way.
What do you want?
There’s a great story of how Ambrose became bishop. It’s the middle of the fourth century and Ambrose, then the military governor of Milan, is called out to the church to quell a riot between rival factions fighting over who is to be the next bishop. Not only does he calm the mob with words of soothing eloquence but the crowd grows still and silent—a silence which is broken by the tiny voice of a child piping up “Ambrose for Bishop!” Well, every voice there joins in … and Ambrose, Ambrose runs like hell. He tries to show the people how wrong they are with a dose of martial law, including a spot of impromptu torture, but to no avail—he cannot run from the people’s call and has to submit to be baptized, confirmed and ordained bishop. And a great one he was.
Sometimes we go looking for one thing and get another. Sometimes we get much more than we bargained for.
This is salvation history in a nutshell. God has to stretch the fabric of our desiring hearts to make them big enough to even begin to hold the riches on offer.