Hi guys--remember me? I'm the long lost writer of this said blog, who is getting her feet wet with this post, and soon, will let you in on the recent struggles of my losin' it journey...
I’m really not that big into Black Friday—it’s not because I hate shopping—I love it, but I don’t think there really is anything that could coax me out of be at 3 o’clock in the morning. What I do like, however, is to hear about some of the crazy lengths that people will go to, to get that one thing that their heart desires. Case in point—there was a couple somewhere—who pitched their tent sometime last Wednesday, not day before black Friday Wednesday, but week before black Friday Wednesday. They were outside of the Best Buy, living their lives until that one day, nine days later, when the doors would open, and they would get—what you ask? That’s the thing—they didn’t know. “We’re not quite sure, what we’ll get,” they said…”a flat screen, an iPad, we really don’t know. But, it’s gotta be something good.”
Here’s the thing—as much as I think those people are kind of crazy…we’re actually a lot like them. Except things in our line are just a little different. First, in our line, we have absolutely no idea what time the doors are going to open. There’s no 4am countdown in our line…those doors will fling open when we least expect it. Secondly—we know precisely what we’re waiting for—and it’s going to be something really, really good; we’re waiting for Jesus—for a time when swords will be beat into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, when nations will live in peace and war will be ended.
And, as much as I hate to talk about it…as much as I’d like to explain it away, we’re waiting for a time when some judging will be going one…when some of us will be left and some of us will be taken away; when you and I will be grinding mill side by side and I get whisked away to be judged and you get to live peacefully within the reign of God in the world.
Which I guess leads to another difference about our line—why in the heck are we still in it? Why do we keep standing here, when we’re pretty sure there are no flat screens in our future; why do we keep waiting for Jesus (either judging Jesus or gracious Jesus)…when we’ve been waiting for him for thousands of years and he still hasn’t come. It might lead to us to wonder if maybe there are some other lines with a little more promise—if there are other lines where doors will open on time and the gift on the other is one that makes a makes a little more sense. I don’t know about you…but, there are times I really, really want to cut in somewhere else; there are times when I’m tired of hoping for something that never comes, and believing in someone that seems to be absent more often than not. There are times when I want to throw my hands up in the air and go work for someone who doesn’t send me strange memos that leave be wondering if I’m going to be resting in the presence of God or standing alone with all the other sinners.
But, then a funny thing happens and Sunday after Sunday I end up right back here—with all of you—where we stumble in here longing for our cataracts to be removed so that we can see God again. I think that’s why we stay in this crazy line—because deep within us we know that this is the only one where the doors will open and we will see God. We’re still waiting because when those waters splashed over our foreheads, we were giving these new eyes to see the world. Maybe we’re still waiting, because even in the midst of some pretty boring line standing, and some pretty awful world happenings, there are still these amazing glimpses of a new world and our risen savior.
I came across this quote recently Catholic Sister Joan Chittister tells the following story: "Once upon a time, the story goes, a preacher ran through the streets of the city shouting, 'We must put God into our lives. We must put God into our lives.' And hearing him, the old monastic rose up in the city plaza to say, 'No, sir, you are wrong. You see, God is already in our lives. Our task is simply to recognize that.”
This Advent season we are not called to put God in our lives—like God is something that we can add to our lives like a big red bow…we are not called to stop all our Christmas shopping, and present wrapping and party going and simply to look at the baby Jesus in the manger. What we are called to do is to stay in line, to live our lives, and to see where those places where the door opens when we least expect it; to see those places where swords have been beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; to see those places where Christ meets us.
Here’s a few places where Jesus has already flung open the doors in the world—The USS General Vandenberg—a naval warship from WWII—was recently sunk in the Florida Keys to become a reef for marine life…sounds a little like swords used for war, being beaten into plowshares that give life.
For me, Christ opened doors in the story a friend tells…from one mother who yells too much to another who does the same, her words became life for me—“Nathaniel, my son, is pretty good at reading me,” she says. He knows when I’m going to get really, really mad about something. Just as I’m winding up and ready to yell, he’ll give me a big smile, put his arms out for a hug, and say, “Mommy, I love you.” It works every time. This is how God reminds me that God loves me, too. It’s not always easy to remember that—it takes a lot of energy to move away from the anger and over to the love. But that’s where God wants us—in the love.”
And that’s where God wants us—in line…in line waiting, waiting for the wonders of Jesus, waiting for the doors to be opened wide, waiting to meet Jesus in the world. My guess is you can guess your Tuesday faith assignment—stay in line…but keep those eyes open…because you don’t need to put God anymore, God is already there…and that, my friends, is waaaay better than a flat screen tv.