Please read Isaiah 40:9
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up to a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!” Behold, the Sovereign Lord comes…..
Since being retired I have had plenty of time to reflect. One of things I had trouble resolving over my forty-one years was dealing with interruptions. You know, like being engrossed with my plans, my agenda, my program, my sermon, my space, and then, suddenly, Bam! The phone rings. A person drops by. A crisis occurs. A problem happens. A plan changes. I then had to deal with it. To be honest, my work was constantly interrupted. Now I know why. Thinking back, it was the interruptions that defined as well as gave meaning to my work.
That, I think, is the great conversation being shared by many of us in the church today. As a region, as congregations, as clergy, and lay folk all dealing with the incredible disruptions affecting us during these transitional times. We have become uneasy, unsure, frustrated, confused, and even angry with all that has transpired within recent years. We long for tranquility again. But have we considered that many of the unexpected events and occurrences are not just disrupting interruptions of our projects and plans, but may very well be the ways in which God is molding our hearts and minds for the advent of his return?
All too often, our great temptation is to just simply slide by, doing as little as possible, not breaking out of our comfort zones, being safe within the confines of our own group, and being complacent in regards to our true mission and purpose. But whenever our plans are interrupted by poor weather, inner turmoil, relational discord, betrayal of heart, a change in leadership, a revision of policy, a loss of presence, or a fading dream, we are quickly tempted to give in to our baser natures and either become paralyzed by preservation or embittered by resentment. But when we look to the Lord and allow our faith to speak to us, we can develop the patience required to help make our expectations grow. Then what is seen as fate can be converted into vocation, hurt into a call for deeper understanding, loss into a motivation for renewal, and grief into a nativity of joy. Isaiah's words should ease our anxiety and give us hope.
Prayer: Loving and Everpresent God, during this Advent time help me to see my interruptions from a different perspective. Mold and shape my heart in preparation for the new day you are about to reveal. Amen.
Rev. Mike Valentine