The Sunday after Thanksgiving I preached about Josiah, and the years leading up to the Babylonian exile. It was one of those sermons which was not coming together until life presented a good metaphor: namely that our refrigerator stopped working.
The weird part about this particular appliance death is that we didn’t realize it all at once. There were several weeks in November where I was throwing out a lot of food, scratching my head about how quickly certain leftovers had gone bad, wondering whether I really had bought that milk just 2 days ago. Things were a little stinky, but I figured we hadn’t kept up with our CSA vegetables. I chalked it up to busy-ness – after all, I had preached seven sermons in a period of fifteen days. There were two funerals, lots of hospital calls and countless meetings. I figured it was just me.
But the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I got out the butter and realized it wasn’t that hard. I stuck my hand in the unit and realized it wasn’t really that cold in there.. The lights were on, the fan was running, but it was not doing a refrigerator’s job: keeping the food from going bad.
So that was a metaphor for the kingdom of Judah living without awareness of the law, and the grief and hope that accompanied the discovery of the scroll in the temple. Bad news: things were even more rotten than they realized. Good news: there WAS a better way.
Sometimes life’s most annoying events are sermon metaphors come down from heaven. But now, we’re in the third week of Advent and, yes, I’m still waiting. Still waiting for a !@#@$#$ repairman to get out here and fix our compressor. Hopefulness and resolute patience has given way to frustration and befuddlement. I want to make cookies! I want to drink milk that hasn’t first frozen on the back porch! What’s the hold-up?
Last night we finally got an answer: in between ordering the part and now, the repair company went out of business. This is actually the second time this has happened to us in 2011: this summer we waited for weeks for a washing machine repairman to return, and were eventually told by the next company we called that the guy had given up the business.
Now I know there’s an Advent metaphor here. The question is, can anything get me a Christmas Eve sermon?