As we await the arrival of little Darcy many have reminded us that each child arrives a little quicker. The tongue in cheek comment is I should be ready to deliver (more likely I would pass out). My mom, the first of seven, related the story of her younger sister’s arrival in the upstairs of their house. Of course the hospital, not missing an opportunity, still sent a bill for the delivery. I can only imagine what Gramps said to them over the phone!
Not so long ago every baby was delivered at home. My Granny related the story of another birth. Growing up Granny’s parents did not share details with the children. So Granny, still little, did not know her mama was pregnant. The children did worry as their mom got bigger and they asked why? Granny’s mom responded, “I am filling up with water and if you children do not behave I will pop!” Thankfully, Granny was not around when her mom burst; instead, she remembers being outside when her dad called from the porch, “Do you want to come and meet…”
Can you imagine not having nine months to prepare for the arrival of a baby?
While the world moves faster and faster around us, the ebb and flow of God’s design is slower paced. It takes nine months for a baby to arrive and then years for the baby to slowly learn to be an adult (not that everyone takes advantage of this time). God realizes the importance of the journey, the mistake of shortcuts.
So, when God set forth to bring salvation He could have brought out of the dirt a fully formed person. The messiah could have wandered in from the wilderness and began to preach, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” What was the purpose of the thirty years before?
For that matter why did the years have to be so challenging? Born under suspicion and into poverty. Soon a refugee… and he was just a toddler. It would be years before he would deliver the message.
There were easier ways. But the best is not easy. God could have snapped His fingers and made us submissive. This would have demonstrated He was God. But He did not come to deliver that message.
Instead He came to deliver the message that He is love. But love is not quick. It can not happen in a snap. Love is a journey. To know someone you must walk and toil together. Even struggle together. And to love, you must be willing to sacrifice.
In this love new life arrived – bursting forth to all of us.
Rambling on… It is surprising that a faith built on such love: Such preparation. Such work and toil. Such sacrifice. That this faith wants things to be quick. Easy. We want to worship in Spirit and Truth NOW. We want salvation and life change NOW – especially for our neighbors.
And for that matter, we want it all outsourced. Why worry ourselves when we can hire someone to take care of the details? In this way we can arrive and be fed (rather than finding it ourselves)… but it is in this way that we are left with nothing to share.
Faith that delivers life is not easy. It can not be outsourced. It can only happen when we come together with Christ (as he came together with us). To work and toil. To sacrifice. To love.
Are you wondering why the church is not bursting? Why worship seems common? Why is there tension between groups? Or why… Do not look outward.
It is easy to turn on others. But the answer is not them. The answer is you. Or as you read this – I write it – the answer is to say, “I am the one to deliver new life.”
Then we should ask, “Have I taken time to prepare?”