Dec. 7, 2017
Dear Advent Pilgrims,
The elevator once broke at my previous church in Cherokee, Iowa. Not only were people stuck inside, but whenever they pressed the “up” button, the elevator went down. And when they pressed the “down” button, the elevator went up.
Nobody panicked, fortunately. They called for help, and after a short wait, they exited unscathed. Bewildered, yes, but quite relieved that their church campus roller coaster ride had come to a safe and complete stop.
The repair company arrived the next morning to determine the cause of the problem. A small piece of candy had fallen into the door sill of the elevator and jammed the doors shut. All that fuss, all the disruption, and all the trauma of an elevator literally turned upside-down – all caused by an innocent piece of spearmint hard candy.
Sometimes the smallest, most innocent events can produce the most seismic consequences.
Advent is about waiting for the extraordinary to be born from the ordinary, for the upending to come from among the unsuspecting. We live in a world that needs inversion, a reversal of the upside down, inside out backwardness that leaves us feeling stuck inside an elevator going nowhere.
We long for a day when our sisters, daughters, mothers, and female friends can work in an environment that promotes their dignity and frees them from harassment.
We long for a day when all of life, from the impoverished to the underinsured, from the unborn to the incarcerated, from the undereducated to the unemployed, is given the best chance at the transformed, redeemed, and abundant life.
We long for a day when our teachers are as valued as much as our celebrities, our politicians are held to the same moral standards as any other, and our society’s addiction to personal and national indebtedness is healed by discipline, generosity, and commitment to the common good.
We long for a day when common sense safety laws mitigate mass violence, and those inclined to commit those crimes find freedom from their inner demons.
We long for a day when empathy governs our interactions, from the way we treat other people, to the way global leaders shape our world. And we long for a peace that is not merely the absence of conflict, but a shared commitment over the long haul to justice and equality.
In short, we long for a world turned upside down.
So come, Lord Jesus. Be born among us again, Word Made Flesh, candy-wrapped in swaddling clothes.
And together, let us prepare the way.
Grace and peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist