December 19, 2022

Pastor’s Ponderings

Service Type:

We are now in the Advent season when we stress waiting and preparing.  We await the coming of Christ and as we wait we do our best to prepare by looking at our lives and finding where we need to serve Christ more faithfully day by day.  It seems that God is continually showing us new areas of life that we need to turn over to his Lordship, new sins we need to confess, or stubborn areas we need to work on.  I have had time to think since my surgery, although my thoughts often seem muddled so that I identify with Lewis Carrol’s phrase “uffish thought”.

As I have been pondering,  I have come to realize that one of the areas I need to work on is my desire to “do it myself”.  I hate to ask for help.  In recuperation, I have had to depend much more on God and on the members of the body of Christ, who are the Aztec UMC.  The day after my surgery was scheduled, I found out I would need to move by the end of the year.  I began my preparations to move, but like usual, didn’t get as much done before the surgery as I had hoped.

Since the surgery, members of the Church have provided me with food which I would have had trouble with the first weeks after surgery.  People have provided me with rides to doctor’s appointments, and physical therapy.  I have even needed assistance putting on the support stockings needed to reduce the possibility of blood clots, one of which happened anyway.  Church members have also come to my aid In packing.  I can pack boxes but am not supposed to lift them yet.  People have even encouraged me to keep up the exercises needed to speed up recovery (especially on those days when I don’t feel like it).

I have been reminded through this time that God didn’t intend us to lead solitary lives.  God who is the Trinity built the need for fellowship into creation.  The natural systems all work together to achieve their purposes.  We are meant to support one another, using our varied gifts to help one another grow and mature in faith.  Charles Williams coined the term “coinherence” to describe the fact that we need one another, and we need God.  He said that in the nature of our being, we need to be in a relationship with others.  St. Augustine expressed our need for God by saying we each have a God-shaped void in us, that it takes a relationship with God to fulfill.  As Paul put our need for others, it takes all of us to be the body of Christ.  In Him, we are knit together, each necessary to others, with our unique place, but none of us able to stand on our own.

Our culture makes us feel like we should be able to do anything ourselves, and that somehow we are deficient if we can’t “lift ourselves with our own bootstraps.  There may be times when we need to be more independent, but God has built into us the need for others.  Even the most solitary lives depend on others.  Think of Jesus, who was God, but who as a human infant had to depend on Mary and Joseph to protect and defend him.  Who as an adult left his livelihood and depended on others for food and shelter while he was teaching and healing.  When he was on the cross, he was mocked by those who said, “He saved others, now let him save Himself, and come down from the cross.”  Williams commented on this, that it was truth, Christ had to depend on his faith in God to save Him, even He could not save Himself.

So during this Advent season, as we prepare for Christ’s coming, let us remember that we don’t have to do it all alone.  We need to be there too help others, and we have the body of Christ to support us.  And we have a God who will never leave us on our own, a savior who was also called Emmanuel, “God is with us.”