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When will it be time?

There is something healing about this sorting and discarding process…this reliving and remembering, this taking stock of the past and present, this recognizing past and present brokenness and growth, this claiming the many small victories that add up to a full and gratitude filled life.

I’ve barely started on the many drawers and files of old sermons, clippings, funerals, weddings, letters, not to mention 10 years of blogs and newspaper columns. Over the weekend I tackled the box of Christmas clippings, articles, stories, services, readings I’d accumulated during my 20 years in pastoral ministry. Some spoke so strongly they ask to be shared.

For instance: two timeless pieces:

“If as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things, if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have time to make the long slow journey across the desert as did the magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us there is a desert to travel, a star to discover and a being within ourselves to bring to life.”

By an unidentified author

Then there is Madeleine L ’Engle’s poem “The Risk of Birth” written in 1973 when our nation was torn apart by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. What, if anything has really changed? When will we learn?

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate.
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome,
Honor and truth were tramped by scorn–
Yet here did the Savior make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet Earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

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