I can’t seem to stop thinking about holy interruptions – perhaps because life, in general, feels marked by interruption. So, this last Sunday I preached about it, again. I’m sensing a theme…
It first hit me this summer when I sat with the text from Mark 3: Jesus was King of the Interruptions. He was an interruption to his family, to his friends and to those who weren’t quite so fond of his actions, his politics and his claims – so much so that the Jewish people didn’t know what to do with the rabble-rouser who healed people on the Sabbath and overturned tables in the temple and called himself God.
He was kind of the biggest and holiest interrupter of all.
And in a weird sort of way, that comforts me: when life feels flip-turned upside-down (to quote the beloved Will Smith of my youth), there’s just something about finding God in the midst of the interruptions.
Nearly two and a half months after moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m starting to see God in the midst of this interruption.
Nearly six years after leaving full-time ministry, I’m starting to see how the messiness of starting over vocationally led to a glorious interruption of discovering new life in the words I get to create.
And nearly a decade after saying yes to my husband in an altar underneath a canopy of pines, I’m starting to see how marrying him was perhaps the greatest interruption of all.
Now, this is not to then insert pithy aphorisms. Everything does not happen for a reason in order to make you and me feel better about the hard things in life. The hard things are hard, and in no way, shape or form do I believe that God (or whatever you might call a Higher Power) divinely appoints death or cancer or divorce to some and not to others.
No one preaches this more clearly to me than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his sermon, “A Knock at Midnight,” he talks about the parable of a friend who knocks on his friend’s door at midnight and asks for three loaves of bread. He paints a picture of midnight, about how it feels like midnight in our hearts and midnight in our country and midnight in the life of the church.
Because the knocks at midnight we hear in our hearts, our country and our churches still bellow through the darkness of night.
We hear these knocks from the mouths of our black and brown brothers and sisters, from those who still experience the injustice of racial oppression because of the skin they wear on the outside of their bodies. We hear these knocks from the mouths of women, from those who rally cries of #metoo, begging their government and their churches to take seriously the stories they tell and to impart equity upon their gender, finally. And we hear these knocks from the mouths of those who came to our country as refugees and immigrants, who call the United States home just as those of us who were born within her walls do, but who are being targeted out of nothing but fear.
A thousand knocks interrupt our lives on a daily basis, but all of these knocks in the wee hours of night all hold one thing in common: they know dawn is coming.
Even if dawn should have already come (and even if we shouldn’t have had to knock in the first place), we hold onto the dawn. We hold onto the already but not yet, the hope that is surely ours, the light that cometh in the morning.
But in the meantime, we keep knocking until we don’t have to knock any longer.
We keep begging for those holy interruptions, so that we might see God in the dark of midnight.
Holy interruptions: what say you? Dr. King: what sermons of his have changed you? Also, if you’d like to hear the sermon from this last Sunday, head over to Pangea Church for the link.