CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter
As a pastor, I often felt guilty when I was on my way to a home where a tragedy had occurred, because I felt so good. I was upset, distraught, anxious, fearful, for myself and for those I was going to be with, hoping that my presence would be some sort of help, but I also felt whole, totally engaged, true to my calling.
I was most comfortable when the situation was least comfortable because being helpful was more important than being comfortable. Not because that was my natural inclination, but that was how I could be true to my calling.
The late great Methodist bishop, Leroy Hodapp, was asked by a dialogue leader, “In what situation to you feel most comfortable,” Leroy answered, “Conflict.” The others present were aghast. Most of us would pick “conflict” as our least comfortable situation. But Leroy said, “It’s in conflict when there is a real possibility of change. People don’t change when they’re comfortable.”
He was most comfortable when the situation was least comfortable because change was more important to him than comfort.
We are in a crisis time in our nation and world. Tragedies are occurring. But it means that we can be helpful, and that change can happen, if we are willing to give up comfort to be true to our calling as Christians.
Jesus promised his followers two things: I will always be with you. You’ll always be in trouble.
Yes but, my generation is old. Don’t we have a right to sit back and be comfortable? Yes, we do, but how boring is that?!
The Greeks have two words for time. One is chronos, the regular passing of time, from which words like “chronological” come. The other is Kairos, the moment when the time is right and ripe. Jesus came at God’s Kairos moment. Now is our Kairos moment.
I am enthralled and excited by the example of my wife, who for the 59 years I have known her has been a kind and generous comfort to everyone she met. Now she has given up comfort for conflict, has become the quintessential “little old lady in tennis shoes,” speaking the truth to anyone and everyone, in every way possible, without regard to whether anybody likes it, because she knows how change gets done. She’s being true to the calling of little old ladies everywhere, to use “these precious days” to make the world better for her children and grandchildren.
Yes, she makes me a little uncomfortable. I still sort of care what people think. But today, on her birthday, I’m glad she’s on my side, and the world should be glad, too.
I tweet as yooper1721.