A friend and I met this week for a lectionary study group. Though he was not preaching, he was perfectly willing to enjoy a beer with me on a Wednesday afternoon as we talked about the Bible. He brought an article he had found by Walter Bruggemann. And somewhere in that expository on Luke 3:1-6, Bruggemann remarked "And the Word of God happened." We chuckled over our beers and thought this was a silly statement.
But then, sure enough, I was in church this morning and it kept echoing in my head. And the Word of God happened. And it happened again and again and again.
I've been having a rough week. I'll admit that I'm lonely and a tad homesick. It takes a lot for me to admit that -- especially on the internet where anyone can read it. But, it's true. I've been really, really lonely these past few days. I think the reality of the holidays and the absence of family and friends has started to eat at my heartstrings. So, I've had these terrible passing thoughts that you are not supposed to admit that you are actually having. Thoughts about being in the wrong place. Thoughts about running away. Thoughts that argue with God.
And then, the Word of God happened. I was sullen and didn't want to hear the voices that I was preaching about. But, there it was echoing my ears at coffee hour. "We're so lucky to have you," they said again and again. It came from all kinds of different voices. Not just my dear favorite little old ladies. But, men and young women. It came from all over the place. ARG! So there. The Word of God happened. Even when I did not want to hear it, there was God offering me the loving reminder that I needed.
Of course, I'm trying my hardest to let these moments rise above the one negative conversation with an older man after the pre-dawn service (ok, it's 8:30 am). Of course, he was passive aggressive about it. Some other members said something to him about this "new young lady" (oh so patronizing) who refered to God as SHE in the church newsletter. Of course, he cited the Lord's Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray to God the Father. I patiently explained that we need many metaphors to understand the mysterious presence of God. I explained that for some of us, fathers are not the perfect metaphor (my father is now annoyed having read that -- NOT YOU!), but there are other women that struggle with the male image. There are men that struggle with this image. I resisted the temptation to explain how the Biblical canon came together... I wanted to, but I didn't. I even managed to resist when he told me that the feminist movement was a blip that we have "gotten over now." Ooooooh. I excused myself at this moment and went to my office, closed the door and jumped up and down in rage.
But, the Word of God happened. I need to stay with that.