Sunday, Dec 18; Fourth Sunday in Advent

The poet Luci Shaw writes:

 

                        There’s immense power in small things.  An atom.  A seed.  A word.

 

We live in a world where “size matters” and that all too easily overlooks what is small.  Was not Russell Wilson once considered too small for the NFL; and UW Husky basketball player Nate Robinson—remember him?—not tall enough for the NBA?  Look at both of them today.

Then, there’s Zacchaeus in St. Luke’s gospel:  small in stature, up a tree and a ‘persona non grata’ in the eyes of the crowd.

The season of Advent wants, above all, to correct our way of seeing as we prepare for Christ’s Birth, Word made flesh.  Too often, our vision is skewed when it comes to what truly matters.  This Birth matters in that the infinite God takes on finite flesh.  “In narrow flesh, the sum of light”, as the poet Denise Levertov described the Mystery.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus pointed to what was small when announcing the reign of God:  mustard seed and a small child within the fold of his arms; field flowers and birds against an immense sky; a forgiving word for a defenseless woman when faced with an unforgiving mob madly gripping stones.  There’s immense power in small things; the very reign of God.  Yet, we’re perennially blind to this invaluable and daily lesson; this good news as we madly grip the wheel of our Suburban or Escalade, our frenzied lives bulked up and Costco’d out. 

Years ago, I came upon lines from the play, “Dialogues of the Carmelites” that have helped me see the value of small things; when Blanche de la Force—one of the nuns guillotined during the French Revolution—says:

There is nothing so small that it does not bear the signature of God.  Just as all the immensity of heaven lies in a drop a water.

There’s immense power in small things.

My first Christmas back, and after returning from monastic life, was an eye opener and somewhat discouraging.  The living room was glutted with gifts—large and small—with a sea of wrapping paper lapping at everyone’s feet.  My youngest niece—two or three at the time—had just opened this humongous toy.   She looked at it, and then proceeded to play with the ribbon and bow that had wrapped the gift.  I leaned over to my brother Kevin—her dad—seated at my left and said, “She’s teaching us an invaluable lesson!”

There’s immense power in small things.  An atom. A seed. A word.  As we prepare for Christ’s Birth, Word made flesh and eternal God who chose to descend into this fallen world swaddled in infant flesh, let us see life in a new light.  To God, size doesn’t matter.  What does is that we become like children; that we let ourselves become small; that we “Stop and smell the flowers”.

 

Father Tim Clark, Pastor

 
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