About a week ago I took Rebecca to school. After dropping her off, I went through the school complex on Mark Street, turning west onto East Avenue, toward the church. It was a foggy morning, and all around was gray and gloom.
But as I headed down East Avenue, I looked up. The fog hugged the earth, and not far above the blue sky was struggling to break out. The sun, however, above the fog line, was bright. And looking a bit further down the street I could see the sun shining off the cross at the top of the church steeple. What a great image – the sun, the light, the gift of hope, shining brighly, even amidst the gray and gloom of the fog. There it was – my next reflection. Hey, almost writes itself.
Except for one thing. I did this already. I’m sure of it. And arriving at the office, I checked, and there it was – way back in January of 2014. Pretty much the same message.
Bummer. So much for that idea.
But after a week of mulling it over, I wondered. Maybe there is something here. You know, like, how almost four years later the light still shines, the cross still beams out hope, or something like that. After all, isn’t the world pretty much as messed up as it was four years ago? We had problems then, we have problems now, and I think its a pretty fair guess we will have problems four years from now. Right?
So there it is – the cross, the light, the hope – it remains, even after four years, and even into an uncertain future.
Good stuff! It’s a wrap – I like it.
And so, this morning, I took Rebecca to school again, turned onto Mark Street, and then East Avenue, eager to get to the office and throw down my thoughts.
As I headed down East Avenue, however, I noticed something. No, not the fog – that’s gone, for today at least. No, I saw something else. I saw to the right the construction zone for the addition to the Middle School, complete with tractors and lifts, stacks of material, temporary office trailers, fencing to separate the work area, and inside that fence, a lot of people at work.
And out of the corner of my eye, to the left, was a truck, right in the middle of Lincoln Avenue, blocking traffic, and no driver in sight – probably over checking out where he (or maybe she) was to go.
And dead ahead a section of road, asphalt torn up, now dirt, and a bit rough.
Lots of dirt and grime, unfinished construction, a seemingly chaotic scene, with piles of all sorts of things, all sorts of places. A work zone – a place buzzing with activity – a place of change, and lots of it.
But like the fog a week ago, something else. High above, there was the cross. Again.
OK, so I like what I had. The fog remains. It sticks around, and then just when we think life is clear again, it pops back into our lives. Yet also the cross, the beacon, the light, the hope, we needed it then, we need it now, and hey, we’ve go it. The transforming power of the crucified and risen Jesus remains!
That same transforming power is not just there in the midst of our fog – its also there in the midst of all the busyness and chaos of life. The hustle and bustle buzz around us, distracting us and sometimes diverting our attention from what is really important. Even overwhelming us, too much to handle, and we are frozen in place, unable to react and respond to what life throws at us.
Yet, the cross – remember? There it is, again, towering over the increasingly busy and frantic world. The cross, beaming with light, life, and hope.
Just like it did four years ago, and will continue four years from now, and on and on.
I don’t know about you, but both the fog and the construction zone work for me. I’m in a fog a lot – I don’t have answers to a lot of things. In the midst of an increasingly complicated world I need to be a wise parent, a supportive spouse, and a helpful son, while at the same time maintaining my own balance as a person. And that’s not to say anything about a confused political scene, fears of nuclear weapons, and wondering what terror act will happen next. Too much, it seems sometimes, and the fog gets deeper.
And then, in a changing world, how do Pastor Jean and I figure out new ways to do ministry? Pastoral work has always been a challenge, but these days – just what do we do as the world spins faster and faster – and out of control (or at least out of my control)? More fog!
But not only fog – distractions too. Lots of things to grab our our attention. Within the midst of our abundance, with so many toys and other treasures, we are nonetheless fearful and uncertain. We have so much…yet we feel threatened, ready to circle the wagons. So much for focusing on faithful living!
Fog and distractions…gray, gloomy and diverting…but wait, look again – there it is – the cross! The cross, beaming light above the fog and the distractions. The cross, proclaiming life in the midst of gloom and diversions. The cross, filling us with hope even as the fog seems to thicken and the hectic pace of life threatens to run me over. The cross, embracing us and holding us!
And a future – a future grounded in and empowered by the crucified and risen Jesus.