The box arrives from Amazon and I carefully use my pocketknife to open it with great anticipation. The new riding toy for my granddaughter has arrived. I can’t wait to assemble it and see her face when she goes zipping down the sidewalk. The first thing I notice as I carefully sort through the box is a 20-page novel with instructions on how to put this new toy together. Thankfully, they’ve written this in 5 different languages, which is convenient for me if I decide to brush up on my High School French. Also inside is a tightly sealed package of screws, nuts, and bolts. And then I see another package with wheels, plastic washers, and alien-looking flying saucers. It’s all so exciting in these first moments of discovery.
5 hours later, it’s not so exciting. The instruction novel is now wrinkled, torn, and coffee-stained. The English section was just as useful as the French section. I’ve now assembled and reassembled the toy 3 times. Finally, I think I have everything where it needs to be. However, I look down at the floor and here is a whole pile of leftover parts. So, I inspect the toy up and down, inside and out, but there is absolutely no where to put them. I have 4 leftover screws, 2 nuts, 3 bolts, and 1 alien flying saucer. So in my confusion, I’m wondering if these are just extra gifts from the manufacturer to me. How nice of them! I’ll add them to my drawer of unexpected surprises that I may be able to use some day.
This month we begin a new cycle in the Narrative Lectionary. We will begin in Genesis and work through the Old Testament until we arrive in the Gospel of Matthew on December 18th. Some of these Old Testament stories are rather long and cumbersome like an instruction manual. Some of these stories will come across like a foreign language with so much we don’t understand. And at times, we might even feel like there’s so much we don’t get to – like a pile of leftover parts we don’t know what to do with. But in the end, we will hopefully put together a picture of God’s ongoing faithfulness to all of creation. These stories will set the stage for the story of Christ which arrives in Advent. As we prepare to open this holy gift, this Word of God for the people of God, I pray we discover something beautiful and life-giving – from the Old Testament to the New. I pray the Holy Spirit journeys with us, and guides our understanding and our questions, our transformation and our doubt, our grasping and those leftover parts.
In God’s peace,