There’s a story I’ve been listening to for years about a woman who met a man at a well. I’ve heard the woman called many things. Sinful. Scandalous. Promiscuous.
She was married five times, and when we meet her in the story, she was living with a man who wasn’t even her husband.
But what if we’ve missed something all this time?
When I walk through my grandma’s front door, I take an inhale and the smell immediately triggers a flood of memories. I see the blocks I played with as a child on the coffee table, my grandpa’s guitar waiting to be played in the corner, and the family table where I've spent nearly every holiday and special occasion for thirty years. I'm conditioned to look for those things.
One week ago, we woke up to the news that terrorists had attacked Brussels, killing and injuring people just beginning their vacation, on the subway to work, just going about their every day lives. We can’t escape bad news.
It’s the last week of Jesus’ life, and when you’re reading through the book of Matthew, you can sense the weight. The urgency. The clarity. He tells his disciples, “you are either a sheep or you are a goat.” It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?
Except, it's not.
Who is a sheep and who is a goat?
It doesn’t matter what you believe will happen to this world in the end. Maybe you believe God will destroy the earth, or maybe you believe God will restore the earth.* Really, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t want to talk about the dispensation or tribulation or Revelation or any version of millennialism. I don’t care about your political affiliation, whether you’re a democrat, a republican or a libertarian.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I survived the baby years. I’m just coming out of the throes of 24/7 parenting after five years of caring for babies. My youngest is 18-months-old and all of the baby gear is officially gone. There are no more swaddles or swings, bouncers or binkis. There is just one item I’m hanging on to, because the sleep and sanity of our family depends on it. Each and every one of our babies required a sound machine to fall asleep at night. The crackling static, like a radio dial between stations, signals my brain that the day is winding down.
Right now I can't get enough podcasts. I love to read, but I spend a lot of time driving to where I need to go. It's a great way to learn, be inspired and enjoy the drive. I also listen to them while I'm working around the house: cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and working out are far more enjoyable when you don't just feel like you're doing a series of mindless tasks.
Advent has seemed darker than usual this year. There have been a series of horrific events, instilling fear and robbing us of peace. Simultaneously, the political climate is increasingly hostile, and disciples of Jesus are divided and suspicious of one another.
I’ve been praying since I could talk. I was never taught; never guided. I was simply told to have a conversation; to speak my requests. I’ve prayed for a new cabbage patch doll at Christmas time, acceptance into college, and for a miraculous A on a test I didn’t study for. I’ve prayed for jobs, for pregnancy and childbirth, for healthy children, for healing, and for safe travels.