Mary Beth writesMatthew 11:2-11When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"
She challenges us to think about something different this year and not get stuck in rusty old (busy, busy) habits.John the Baptist is having a bad, bad time. He is stuck in prison, after all. And the faith and passion with which he proclaimed the coming of Jesus as the Messiah seem to be gone, or at least stretched very thin.
It’s understandable, really. Jesus is not doing what he should be doing, in John’s estimation. He is, in fact, doing everything WRONG. I imagine John thinking, “This is crazy! Jesus can’t be the one, because everything is so screwed up.” He must have felt very desperate to send this message to Jesus.. . . It’s sometimes easy to feel that way in today’s world. We get frustrated at the gloom-and-doom news channels, the machinations of the institutional church and some individuals representing Christianity. Wars, violence, starvation…the list could go on and on. We get stuck in our own self-righteousness and sin, and wonder where God is, and whether we’ve made a mistake. Like John, we get rusty in our faith.
This time last year I was packing boxes like mad while I limped around on an almost healed, broken ankle. The moving van came on the 1st. It was a crazy time, far from today's quiet and peaceful dining room where I sit, listening to Christmas music and watching the last of the leaves blow off the trees. I am grateful to be here. Our move has had some surprises, mostly monetary. We expected utilities and taxes to be higher. We didn't expect to pay so much more in taxes by having a parsonage instead of a housing allowance. ah well. There is still so much for which to be grateful. Our son got into grad school and is finishing the frantic end-of-semester papers. He also sold his first written piece this year. Our daughter completed her Masters and got out of the program that seemed to be killing her. SIL is now living with us and she will be too in about 6 weeks or less. Husband has made an easy transition to the new territory and is enjoying a successful hunting season. Life is good.
So what shall I "think about" that is different than the usual fare this year? As I contemplate those for whom life is not-so-good, and the places where there is no peace on earth, I wonder what small thing I could do to make a different for peace. Perhaps it will come in stages. First, I think locally, maybe I can visit a few people who don't ordinarily fall on my list but would enjoy a visit and conversation. What if everyone in the congregation visited just one other person this year? That could make for peace right here because I know there are people who are in stressful situations and would really enjoy a visit to talk.
Perhaps, as today's "retreat" continues, other UNusual ideas will arise for being part of Christ's peace.