Here’s a picture of the rock I brought to church yesterday. It looks like a nice, normal rock, but in truth it is masquerading as a whole rock. I found this while out walking a number of years ago and when I picked it up, it fell apart in my hands (see picture below). I knew someday it would make a great sermon illustration, so it has been sitting in a box in my house ever since. You see, it reminds me of people. To others we may look whole and like we’ve got it all together, but if they look close enough, they will see that there are cracks and missing pieces. We go around masquerading as whole people, but the reality is that we are all broken.
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The journey through Advent to Christmas is the journey from darkness to light, from despair to hope, from tears to joy. This is a transformative season. But, in order for us to be transformed we actually have to admit that parts of us need transformation. I’m no different. I’d prefer to believe that I’ve dealt with all the grief, guilt, and hurt in my life. Then someone or something triggers those broken parts of me and my cracks begin to show again.
Transformation happens when I sit with the brokenness, allow myself to feel it, and then allow it to be a messenger for change. What do I have to learn from it? What spiritual message does it have for me? How can this serve me instead of controlling me?
Yesterday we talked about how the act of lamenting allows us to name our broken, hurting, grieving places and open them up to the light of the Divine with the trust and faith that transformation is possible. Lament is an honest recognition that to live in this world is to experience brokenness in some way, shape or form. However, lament still trusts the presence of the Divine and God’s ability to act powerfully even in the darkest of places.
Perhaps more than anything else, we, as spiritual people, believe beyond any rational thought, that the Living Spirit can bring order out of chaos, and growth out of suffering. As the New Interpreter’s Bible says, “The followers of Jesus dare to affirm that in Jesus the light of God shines and that through Jesus we are restored and have life.”