"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving – when I trim a week’s worth of work into what simply must be done, then do it all in one day. I’ll cram for sermon on Saturday but since it’s only once a year I don’t feel badly for it.
My second favorite thing yesterday was listening to a customer explain Thanksgiving to the young Vietnamese woman doing her nails. Nothing about Pilgrims and Indians, just family and cooking and the sweetness of being together. My first favorite thing was talking with a Muslim family in a restaurant. Such gentle interactions between strangers can bring me to tears these days.
I enjoy sweet moments as much as anyone but I’m not normally a crier. I confess it’s me who’s changed, who may just now be seeing the world as it’s always been for people without the privilege and security I take for granted. But I can’t unsee what I now see, unknow what is now so clear to me. As one writer said it, something isn’t right. However many clues I’ve missed already, I now know that we are over waist deep in a strong, swift current of social change. Martin Luther King Jr. called it the great arc of history. He said, it always bends toward justice. I’ve read him a dozen times and missed his mention of the slumps and swells along the way. Welcome to the slump: our slump. By ours I mean Baby Boomers’, Gen X’s, Gen Y’s, and Millennials’. Now is our time. Now is the time we shall be unmasked and the truth of us be told. Shall we be remembered for our humanity, our decency, our moral courage, and our absolute insistence on the dignity of every person in our midst? Or something else? For our narcissism and greed? For our moral flexibility? For our complacency with corruption so long as I get to keep what’s already mine? For our fear?
Ah, fear – my other new companion, tapping me on the shoulder now and then, reminding me that people of faith are set to a much different bar of conduct. We shall be tested and exposed not for simple human morality, but for our obedience to Christ. And however much I may wish it were not so, upon the stage of this time and place we shall take our test. I suppose it’s why I’ve never been more grateful than now for the life I have and the people in it. The people with whom I will walk this walk and share this journey. From whom I will draw clarity, strength and courage. Among whom I already find so much grace, joy, wisdom and hilarity. So whatever tomorrow holds, bring it on. Because as we know, in Christ and together, we can do all things!
I look forward to seeing you all Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent!