Life can turn on a dime, that’s for sure. The image that gave rise to that expression relates to high performance vehicles which can change directions in a very small space referencing a dime as the smallest of our coins. But now we use the expression more to mean that life can change ever so quickly.
The game of football (remember it is a game) has certainly illustrated that in the past few weeks. Half of us have been elated and the other half deflated by things turning on a dime in that world. The words “miracle” and “disaster” have been used to describe the same events from opposing perspectives. Neither is accurate in the grander scheme of things but very probably you are still either giddy or sullen due to some remarkable football plays and games. A lot can happen quickly.
A lot can happen in the more real world too. As I think back over the past few weeks I know people
whose lives have been altered so very quickly: a close family member dying suddenly; a mysterious healing of a life-threatening condition; an unexpected diagnosis leading to arduous treatment; nagging symptoms revealing the need for traumatic surgery and a long recovery; landing a big case; leaving a family home and adjusting to new living arrangements; meeting someone new and falling in love; a brand new business deal that opens up a whole new world of possibilities; a lifestyle-changing fall; losing a job; discovering a spouse’s unfaithfulness. Much of life involves slow waiting and endurance but there are those moments which cause sudden and dramatic change. Life was going in one direction and then, immediately, turned on a dime.
Those events leave us with a lot of questions. When that sudden change involves good news we wonder if there was some sort of divine intervention because we know we haven’t caused or particularly deserved the turn of events. When it involves bad news, we struggle with despair and feelings of loss of control. We wonder if we are being punished or, perhaps worse, if things are just spinning around in chaos. It’s all very humbling to have life turn so quickly, for good or for bad. And we are left to ponder what sort of sudden changes may happen today which could alter our lives. Even the marvelous surprises in life leave us with a precarious feeling. We rise and fall so quickly.
Advent, and the Christian gospel, encourages us with the promise that the day will come when God will sort out all the injustices. The kingdom of God will come and that kingdom involves the well-being of all creation. The kingdom of God dwells among us already and gives us signs of the ultimate wholeness which will come about as salvation takes full effect. We are reminded to wait with patience as God finishes his work of redemption. It has been given to us in Jesus Christ and we are in midst of it being worked out in us and around us.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of highways being made in the desert, the rough places being smoothed out, the treacherous hills and valleys being made level, so that the exiles could return from Babylon to their beloved home. That has become an image for Christians of our journey to be home with God in his kingdom. We live in an earthly world with so many ups and downs and we are promised a more peaceful and ever more joyful end to all turmoil. The highs in life reveal the great joys that will be ours more fully. The lows in life remind us that nothing can defeat the grace of our Lord. Our lives may involve chaos and precariousness but that is not all we face nor is it an eternal situation.
It is truly remarkable that the volatility of our earthly existence does not overshadow the peace of God. The dramatic turns that life takes, in fact, actually reveal the nature of God which transcends and yet is so very involved with this life.
As your life takes turns know that the constancy of God underlies all that which is good. Christ reveals the true nature of God. A peace is available to us even as we rise and fall here on earth, a peace which reminds of the goodness which is to come.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Christmas Pageant – Sunday, December 22, 9:30 am
Christmas Eve Family Eucharist with Children’s Sermon – 5:00 pm
The Music of Christmas – Christmas Eve at 10:30 pm
Festival Holy Eucharist for Christmas Eve – 11:00 pm
Christmas Day Eucharist – 10:00 am
Lessons and Carols – Sunday, December 29, 10:30 am
Family Promise – Homeless Family Ministry – January 5-12
Feast of Lights – Sunday, January 12, 6:30 pm – with supper at 5:4