Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A World Out of Joint

A week before Christmas I was visiting a parishioner.  In the process I slipped on some ice and fell and dislocated my shoulder.  There is no good time for that to happen by for a priest or pastor but Christmas time is one of the least convenient times to be inconvenienced in this manner.  I must give accolades to the medical system which receives less than stellar reviews at times as well as others involved.  The assistance of the tow truck driver (yes I also got stuck in the parishioner’s laneway), the ambulance personnel, the emergency staff at Strathroy Hospital and the Clinic at St. Joe’s in London all did a great job.   

Well I did manage to get through all the Christmas activities without it being an insurmountable task.  To say that I was experiencing the troubles of Job would be an outrageous exaggeration.  However, I found that many of the things which I did naturally and took for granted were no longer easy for me to do.  Of course it would have to by my right shoulder which made it all the more difficult being right handed.  Being the Christmas season assisted me in reflecting on my situation and how there was a relationship between having my arm out of joint and the season we were celebrating.  Actually this was pointed out to me by my wife and I was skeptical when she first mentioned it but on reflection realized the truth of what she was saying. 

You may be wondering what could be the relationship between a shoulder dislocation and Christmas.  Well I believe that Christmas was necessary because the world was out of joint.  God had created the world and all that was in it and declared it good.  However, it didn’t take too long until things were not going the way they were intended to go.  The world was out of joint.  The way the world was working was like dealing with a dislocated shoulder.  You can no longer do things the way you naturally would do them.  Things no longer worked that way so you had to find other ways to do them which are unnatural, more difficult and awkward. 

For the world, the Old Covenant was not working.  God gave the covenant with the law and people could not live up to it.  God’s intention was not being fulfilled by His people.  A new way was needed.  God decided that what was required was for God to become one of us – still fully divine but also fully human.  God was born as a small helpless baby in a stable in Bethlehem.  Well you know the rest of the story which we have just finished reliving for the 2010th time.

We are now in the in-between time of the new covenant in which God’s Kingdom has not yet come to fruition.  We Christians are still in this world as a covenantal people.  The world still is not working as God intended just as my shoulder is still feeling the after effects of that dislocation.   Both those things will happen in God’s good time.  My shoulder will hopefully be back to normal before too long.  I have no doubt that it will take longer for the world to come fully to the state where it is working as God intended it.  However, I have faith that it will one day – in God’s time.

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