(excerpt from Wishful Preaching - Things I Wish I'd Said From the Pulpit)
The following is an excerpt from an Advent sermon. This is the 3rd and final "point" of the message...
3. We need to show up. It reminds me of my childhood memories of waiting for my relatives to arrive so we could open Christmas presents. There I was, nose pressed to the front window, waiting for them... all present and accounted for. Waiting...waiting...waiting.
The element of divine surprise: Jeffery Sobanson in his book, Ascent to God, talks about faith as art, risk and humor. In his paradigm of living faith, he points out that people need a faith that changes because our world view, our understanding of God, changes. As he puts it, "We all reach a point when our faith fails, the center does not hold." He's right.
|Sometimes, God is just funny!|
My favorite part of the book, however, is the concept of faith as humor. He challenges us to realize that we are not, ultimately, in control, but God is. The very source and object of our faith is in charge, not us.
Think of it this way. You are watching a play. The hero has fumbled through antic after antic in an effort to win the love of the heroine. His efforts have been thwarted, dismissed and misunderstood - until the revelation is shared that he has in fact been the object of her love all along and the success of his wooing has been her desire and arrangement all along. There is humor in that, and the reassurance of Advent is that God will show up to be with us.
And so we come to it, this Advent season of preparation, and in it we find that there is a creative dance between us and the Divine. We are warned and called to prepare and wait for a certain coming, and in the very act of our limited and incomplete preparation, we are assured that we will not miss Christ's coming, and will be graced by the Greatest of guests at our Christmas table.
God is up to something; about that we can be sure. In some way, the Divine will arrive in our lives, always arrives in our lives and in that arrival, we will find ourselves face to face with hope anew and possibilities galore. We just have to show up.