Wallace's sermon today was based on the "Classic" week after Christmas text, John 1:1-18 (The "In the beginning was the Word" one), and it was fine, but it was not that reading that caught my attention. It was today's second reading, Galatians 3:23-25 and 4:4-7:
23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian... 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Maybe it was just that I've heard the first chapter of John so much it just didn't stick or something, and I was secretly hoping for the "alternative text" sermon, but that is a lot to ask for during the Christmas/Ephiphany season since I imagine Wallace is under pressure to stick to the "classic old schmaltz." Or maybe I just glommed onto the concept of no longer being under a disciplinarian and being adopted with no necessary jumping through hoops on our part. At any rate, I was guilty of hearing Wallace's words and trying to stick them to the "other" text rather than the one he used for the sermon.
But I really like that bit in Galatians 4. What it reminds me most of is the way most of the dogs that I ever had entered my life...they just "showed up" and I took them in. Most of the dogs in my life were not necessarily picked out by me. I didn't say, "Oh, I'd like to have THIS kind of dog" and go dog shopping. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and discover a dumped dog, or a dog just showed up on my porch after being dumped (a common occurrence when you live in the country) or someone said, "I had a dog show up at my house, blah blah, and I'm looking for a home for him," or "I have to get rid of this dog b/c (landlord caught me, it doesn't get along with my other dog, etc. etc. fill in the blank)". In other words, I have been the recipient of more than my share of "dog karma." I think there is this grand karmic thing with dogs where they have a 6th sense of "where to show up and they'll be taken in," and I exude some sort of dog karmic vibes that lead them to me.Then I think about how I sort of came to Trinity. After moving back to Kirksville, I was not really looking for a church home but I knew something was missing in my life to make me feel totally connected again; that my return and my connection was 90% whole but something was missing. Two of my friends invited me to come there for six years but I paid little attention. I knew this much: I DID miss celebrating the Eucharist and I missed reciting the liturgy, but I had been through considerable "church trauma" at this point in my life and considered myself a strong enough Christian to go it alone. (Maybe that is why I like John the Baptist. I can identify with a dude wearing hairy clothes and wandering around in the wilderness eating locusts and honey.)
I was just like those dogs that manage to live just fine in the wild; I got along, I was fine. I didn't really miss human companionship or a home. But just like how a dog out on his own finally just up and decides to light somewhere, I just sort of "showed up" on an Easter Sunday at Trinity, and it was immediate "dog karma". Dogs that just show up at your house like that literally act like it's their home; they don't ask your permission, they just look at you like, "Hi, I'm home, what's for supper?" Evidently, Wallace saw that in me, b/c at my confirmation he told the Bishop I just walked in, looked around, and said, "I'm home" in a wordless sort of way.
Well, this is God's promise in Galatians 4. We have ALREADY been adopted by God. All we have to do is show up. He put the spirit of his Son in us (which is just like dog karma, only better) so that you recognize "home" when you see it.
Thanks be to God.
Dear Lord, You have placed in each of our hearts the ability to recognize "home." Teach us that when we are troubled, or in need of guidance, or even when we're just aimlessly wandering without a care to realize that we already belong to you and we have the innate ability to find our way home to You. Help us put our trust in this built in GPS system and in the journey, so that we will always have the confidence that we will be taken in with You in that heavenly country. Amen.