So you're back after all.
And you still have your colon and most of your rectum too.
You must be feeling very smug now.
I'm feeling very fortunate and very blessed.
And you're not even hurting that much, apparently. You think you're some kind of superman?
No, I'm not really hurting, but every now and then my body rushes me to the john to remind me I'm no superman. I'd assumed you'd enjoy that part, personal mental demon.
And for all that, you're going to flog this Advent horse yet again?
One more time.
"Pastor, could I talk to you for just a moment?
"Oh, the others aren't here. They took off to go see grandkids for Christmas. My kids and grandkids will be coming here later today. Anyway, I'm sure the others are still as cranky as ever, or probably gloating about being at a church today that isn't bothering with Advent.
"But maybe, I don't know, maybe there really is a point to this?
"All week my mind has been troubled by that awful thing that happened in Connecticut. I feel broken. I don't know whether to be sad or angry. And to hear how some people don't seem to care, only that they get to keep their guns...I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. What kind of world is this? Is this our world?
"It was kind of a shock to come in and find the church dark this morning. I also saw you get a little testy with one of the elders who kept trying to turn on the lights. But it fit where I was, that was for sure. Gray and gloomy.
"It's not as if the Advent wreath hasn't been getting lit for three weeks already. But somehow today it made so much sense all of a sudden. Of course we have to light candles. This is a dark world. We have to light candles because this is a dark world. We can curse the darkness all we want to, but that doesn't bring any light to the world.
"So, I guess the question is, what does it mean to bring light to this world? What are we supposed to be doing to illuminate in this darkness? I guess I've never thought about it this way before. And maybe I'm seeing this now because we kept plugging at Advent, I don't know. I'll have to think about this.
"But another thing, the Magnificat. I know it gets preached every year, and the choir sang a lovely setting too. But until you mentioned it in the sermon, I'd never noticed how it's all in the past. It's all action that has been done. "He has scattered the proud...," "he has filled the hungry...," all what we would call present perfect tense, pastor. After all these weeks it finally sunk in, if we're not living in a way that our world and our actions look like this, then we're not living in God's world, are we? And that's why we have to keep lighting candles, to be against the darkness. It isn't just that a world where things like Sandy Hook happens isn't the world that God has done. It's that a world where things like Sandy Hook are accepted, where we just say "that's how it is," or where we despair and say there's nothing we can do about it...that isn't the world God has done either.
"It's amazing to me how it's suddenly all fitting together. All those Old Testament readings and all that from John the Baptist. This is what it points to, isn't it? It all comes together.
"It's a lot to think about. Now I almost wish I had a few days before Christmas to think about it. I still feel broken and angry and sad, but I guess I can at least see something about what it means to live in the world God has done, and to light lights against the darkness. I won't say I completely understand it yet, but there's something there.
"Thanks, pastor. See you tomorrow night."
Eh, a pastor can dream.
You think anyone will ever really get it?
I don't know. All I can do is proclaim. No pastor has any control over how any parishioner receives what the pastor preaches. And frankly, a pastor who tries to have that kind of control is an evil thing.
You're pointless. But at least this Advent foolishness from you is done. And you can knock it off with a nice little Christmas story and get back to your usual irrelevance, instead of this extra-special irrelevance.
One little Christmas story? You know that the Christmas season really lasts twelve days, don't you? Maybe I'll get crazy and blog the twelve days of Christmas somehow. Hmm...
You have got to be kidding me. You can't seriously think that even the most benighted Advent geek is going to take a whole twelve days of celebrating Christmas lying down, can you? You really are a fool.
Yep, it's right there in the name of the blog.
You are utterly pointless.