Staring into the Dark

It’s not often that I can’t wait for a movie to come out.  But when the latest installment of “The Hunger Games,” came out, it was all I could do to keep myself from getting in line for that first midnight showing.  I finally found a time when I could get to the movie.  I bought my ticket, had popcorn in hand, and I settled in for an evening of dystopian adventure. I had an almost unreasonable amount of anticipatory joy as I sat in the darkness and waited for this new world to unfold before my eyes. From beginning to end I was thoroughly caught up in this world.  And if I’m honest I was doing a good bit of imagining myself as Katniss, the heroine.

As I sat there in the darkness before the movie began, I started to think about Advent.  The song from the Taize community kept running through my head, “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.  Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart!”  Now is the time of year that we wait as a Christian community.  We wait and we prepare.  We tell stories about the pregnant and expectant Mary and the wild and camel haired John who is preparing the way for the Lord.  And as a preacher I am preparing myself to tell the story one more time.

Every time I encounter a biblical text it lives again for me.  I feel that same tinge of anticipatory joy and excitement that I did when I was sitting in that dark theater waiting for the heroine to appear.  But this time I’m wondering what this year will be like as we dive into the biblical narrative.  I wonder how my biblical heroines will come to life as I discover what it is like to be a wife for the first time.  How will stories of forgiveness and resurrection live for me as my new family encounters extended family?  Will Jesus words about the poor and forgotten be a stone in my shoe that move me to action, or will I ignore it again like I did time after time this last year?  Will I have the courage to let the humanity of the words that I preached live in my own life or even see it in the lives of those who hear?

Obviously I don’t know the answer yet.  But perhaps that is why this time of waiting in the dark for the light to appear is exciting. God is still speaking life into our imperfect lives.  God is still interrupting our best laid schemes and showing us a better way. And while I know that Im not a perfect messenger I take solace in the words of the great poet Leonard Cohen;

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

Amen for that!

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