Sermon of the Week
On the Way to Christmas: Leap for Joy!
Keywords: Elizabeth and Mary, Gabriel, Holy of Holies, Car Accident, Where is God in this Mess, Disruption, Advent.
Disruption is never easy for us.
Isn’t that true?
We spend a lot of energy making our lives predictable, or controlled.
That’s one definition of luxury, or privilege, maybe, depending on how you look at it,
the ability to know what’s coming and handle it, be ready for it.
Human beings have a remarkable ability to look into the future, to anticipate.
Some philosophers have said that this is one of those things that make us unique.
Sure, our dog Annie thinks ahead to her next meal,
which any visit to our house an hour before her scheduled dinner will tell you.
But she’s not thinking ahead to college, or retirement,
or even to the visit to the veterinarian
we have planned for her next month.
We, on the other hand, anticipate.
A lot of the time things go according to plan.
But then there are times when everything we plan for,
everything we think is going to happen,
gets jarringly interrupted.
Pregnancy is a good example.
Sure, sometimes parenthood is planned out:
a couple has gotten things in order,
maybe they’ve got some school under their belt,
a safe home,
went ahead and bought all those plastic safety plugs thingies
that go in the electrical outlets,
tied up all the dressers and bookshelves with tethers to the wall.
But I’ll tell you, in part from my own experience,
you can do all that,
and then become pregnant
(or, in my case, that would have been my wife, not me)
and then become pregnant
and your world still gets turned upside down.
You have no idea what is to come.
Particularly true for your first child, (or, again, in our case, children,)
but no less true for later kids that come your way.
Easy pregnancy or difficult pregnancy or sometimes, mournfully, a lost pregnancy.
Those first moments alone with your kid in the dark,
muttering what in the world have I gotten myself into?
Onesies and diapers and warming bottles and sleepless nights,
and then just wait till those kids get to middle school.
Or maybe you plan for all of that and it doesn’t come.
Pregnancy doesn’t come.
That happens too, sometimes.
Or something happens along the way.
Bad things. Good things. Disruption.
We spend a lot of our energies trying to shape and control our lives
and sometimes we’re reminded that we don’t really have much control over anything
no matter how much we work at it.
My reminder about all that this week came to me on Tuesday,
when I had a car accident on the way in to work.
You do all the things you can, you know—
my car was in good shape, good tires, everything checked out,
it wasn’t that busy, it wasn’t raining, I was going the speed limit
my cell phone was tucked away safely,
both hands were on the wheel—
and then someone decides to take a left turn right in front of you
and you get to experience what-they-design-everything-that-way-for:
the airbags and the crumple zones and the seat belts.
So in one sense everything we planned for worked out, right?
I turned out to be ok,
and so did the driver and passengers in the other car.
But: disruption. [Read more…]