When You Choke On The Words

Has the Peace of last week’s Advent been shattered by last Friday’s  carnage?

Is the Peace of God carried off by the whims of mankind like chaff floating away from a dandelion?

What about this week’s Advent? IMG_6973

Joy.

Can Joy co-exist with Sorrow? Horror?IMG_6977

Do angel’s words ring true or not?

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all people…

Which shall be for all people.

Even armed to the teeth, evil influenced people?

How can this be?

Heaven Forbid.

Am I allowed to forbid heaven anything?

I see that the tryanny of violence is nothing new.

The Roman boot weighed heavy upon the neck of God’s people  when Jesus broke into humanity one night.

Violence and its seeming randomness has tried to choke the hope out of the human heart for centuries.

Then He came. The ultimate in human frailty.

A babe.

Do not be afraid….

How do I not?

Fear presents himself so suddenly, without warning as I sit in a classroom of five year olds, lisping words of love to me, their substitute teacher, whom they barely know.

Fear grips choking when I hear of another classroom of lisping love speaking babes there is unspeakable terror.IMG_6972

Babes in blue jeans and spider man tee shirts, pony tails and glitter belts.

Behold…

Look.

Look where, God?

Where are You when the boot crushes and the bullets fly and the cross holds nails in flesh?

I bring you good news of a great joy…

Did shepherds wonder only at angels visiting, or did they wonder, What good news?

Is there any such thing?

Yes, angels sing.

The good news is that God will fix this,  all of it.

He will wipe every tear and heal every disease and crush every fear and it lies in a feed trough, cold, pink and wailing.

Jesus, Immanuel, God with us in the midst of crushing boots and flying bullets and crosses and nails.

The promise of the gospel is that God is good and He sent Jesus into a broken, evil, life-snuffing world to bring it all back to the Garden and this is the only solid ground I have to back up on when all hell is breaking loose around me, or 200 miles away in a pretty little town on a Friday morning.

which shall be for all peopleIMG_6969

I struggle with this part of the message because I want to take my pen and write in my own words. I want it to make sense and it just doesn’t.

You will bring joy to good people, right God? You’re talking about decent, law-abiding people, aren’t you?

Some say killers deserve hell.

This eye for an eye makes perfect sense until I  get stuck on the word all and realize I am seeing boundless, limitless, cannot ever be contained mercy in that little word.

Yes, Virginia, there really is mercy.

Mercy that is new every morning and available for all who would take it.

Thieves, and liars, and cheaters, and grumblers; even someone like a man named Paul, who had a license to kill.

Is this why the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, is so hard to accept sometimes because it is being offered to us all?

I do not know what God is thinking on this side of heaven and  or what He will do with the person who caused so much grief three days ago. I just know that during another three days, Jesus triumphed over evil and darkness and sadness and grief.IMG_6975

IMG_6976The angels were right.  This is good news.

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