That's actually a pretty ordinary start to a week, though the nature of the rare anomalies and the sheer scale of the corruption and the deep grief of saying goodbye to 7/22 team mates within a week's time felt extraordinary.
As we keep marching through the Jesus story in John this Lent, today's poem (Biola Lent site, Mary Karr) said
"But we want magic, to win
the lottery we never bought a ticket for. . . "
Yep, that's what I want. But the poet goes on to say voice of God is "small & fond & local".
And there is the dilemma. When the broken world's edges scratch us, they feel extraordinarily damaging and sorrowful, even though we know that the entire continent is reeling with the same babies prone to early death or greedy men stealing from the poor. When we miss our own family and have to say goodbye to team mates, it feels extraordinary, even though our choices have caused that pain for others too and in 2023 global mobility is widespread. When we, like the people of Palestine scrutinising Jesus, see that he can suspend entropy and remake eyes and turn water to wine . . . we ask for the magic ticket to fix everything and do it now. He heals a finite number of sufferers, feeds a countable number of people on a hillside, even raises a friend from the dead. Extraordinary events, so shocking we call them miracles. But their very notoriety exists because they are the exception, not the rule.
Instead Jesus refused to call down angel armies and burn through all evil instantaneously. He left us with an example and a mission that is small, fond, and local. Helping the two families with babies on our doorstep, while knowing there are dozens and hundreds and thousands more with challenges. Struggling to keep one school afloat, which has slowly infiltrated many aspects of this place with life even though we are a tiny drop in the national picture. Resisting one person bent on injustice even though so many others are not stopped. And not in that 24 hours but the 24 before it, praying with a family devastated by a teenage pregnancy that sent a life into a tragic direction . . we can't fix that at all, and carry the weighty sorrow that that story is one of hundreds around us.
But we stick with all those tiny bearing of burdens and small flickers of light, because the end of the story has a plot twist. The extraordinary will become ordinary. The exception will become the rule. The newborn will be young as a 100 year old Isaiah says, the Psalms are full of visions where justice reigns and ends evil, Revelation pictures us in a crowd of beauty with no more goodbyes. Until then, here we are.
Extraordinary...I feel your experience in my core. Praying.
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