Mom knows a preacher who says that phrase, “If the Lord tarries,” when he makes announcements and such. You know, the meeting is tonight . . . if the Lord tarries.
It has been a long time, don’t you think? Two thousand years ago – give or take – I know his disciples never would have guessed it would be this long. It leaves a lot of room for doubt. I like what Den said in the comments Wednesday, that Jesus left his legacy to people who had consistently failed him. And sometimes that feels even more true than others. Here we are, so many years later, trying to figure out just what he meant by coming at all – just what he was trying to say and to show us.
“If the Lord tarries,” seems to come from someone who really wishes that he wouldn’t. I heard a preacher speak on that once, that we should wish for Jesus’ return more than we wished for anything. I went to lunch that Sunday distraught. I knew I didn’t wish for that. I wished for marriage and children and meeting new people and discovering new things. I didn’t want him to come and interrupt all that cool stuff life had to offer. That’s the famous day in our family history when I opened my fortune cookie after lunch, and it was blank. (Was it blank, Mom, or completely empty? I can never remember.) Either way, it was eerie.
Now I’m on the other side of some of the coolness and find that life has hardship too that would be nice to escape. After 9/11 when my cousin was in a church in Pakistan that was bombed, I was thinking, “This might be a good time, Lord.” It seemed the world was falling apart. But then, yet again, it didn’t. It didn’t actually fall apart, and he didn’t feel the need to swoop in and rescue us. We keep stumbling about trying to figure out life and love (smile) and faith, and then we die and another generation is born to – it sometimes seems – start the learning process all over again.
It’s bright and sunny here today, especially reflecting off the little patches of snow. And something like the return of Jesus on clouds of glory always seems more possible on days like this. But I find that despite everything in life – or actually, because of it – I still don’t mind that he tarries (as perhaps a proper Christian should). I really like the learning process of life. It’s so stressful in seasons but so rewarding when you come through them with something new discovered.
There were several good comments yesterday and Wednesday. As Tracy H. pointed out (you can find her on the blog roll at Strengthened by Words), there is a lot of mystery and balance to our faith. We struggle to find it between grace and works, love and justice, humility and understanding. I’m not even sure there is perfect balance between them, or if perhaps we make up the balance by our differences. Which is both trying – and oddly freeing, if you let it be.
This is one of my favorite movie quotes. I’m convinced there’s truth in it.
If there’s any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me, but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed. But who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.