Unfolding God’s Covenant Within Us

December 1, 2019

There is a difference between unfolding and being surrounded by a covenant and becoming unraveled by the situations we find ourselves in.  Advent offers us a time to ponder the paradox of our lives.  We live with expectation of things promised and things eternal while we enter into the complexity of living our faith on earth.  God longs for us to unfold the layers of mystery and love given for all ages and specifically in this time for us.

Our Gospel invites us to find within this unfolding the uncertainty of time or place.  Uncertainty is not something in most of our comfort zones.  We like to have a knowledge and certainty of timing.  We like schedules when they are accurate.  The opposite is also true.  We can get unraveled when things we thought for certain are not certain any longer.  To enter into the mystery of the unfolding action of God’s covenant I think we can use the opposite doorway, experiences we might all be familiar with.  When do we become unraveled, especially with this week’s reflection on the uncertainty of time?

Just two weeks ago I decided to energize my discipline to walk malls and stay fit.  I figured a new pair of Nike shoes would help do the trick.  I had received an email with a 20% off coupon from Nike and I found a pair a liked online.  I ordered the pair and then clicked on the cart so I could check out.  It would not open.  I tried it 5 times, but still there was no change in the result.  I turned off the computer, rebooted it and retried my order, because I really wanted these shoes.  Time and time again, the cart would not open.  I began to become unraveled.  I tried to find a phone number to call so I could place the order that way.  The website offered chat options, but no phone number.  I kept looking, hitting the contact us button, but it sent me to live chat which also wouldn’t open.  Finally under the return policy I noticed a phone number.  The customer service representative was kind and said she would take my order over the phone, but then my credit card was declined.  I know it shouldn’t be declined, so I had to get off the phone with Nike and call the credit card company.  They said they didn’t know anything about the decline.  Since the Nike Service Rep suggested I use a different browser to order online, I hopped back on the computer and used Google Chrome to access their site.  I was still determined to get the shoes, but the process was no longer energizing, but really frustrating.  The unraveling continued.  This time I got the shopping cart to open, but then it asked me to provide a security number that was going to be sent to my phone, so I could verify I was making the charge.  I love them protecting me, but by the time I got the code and entered it, the Nike website would not let me process the order.  Then I had to enter a new credit card and begin all over again.  Finally with all of these attempts I achieved success and the order was processed.  After two hours on the computer I was unraveled and unhinged.  What I did to energize myself ended up frustrating me.  This is the paradox we live in.

At an unexpected time God visits, at a time when obstacle after obstacle prevents us from the event unfolding before us, God’s covenant gets lost.  It will never be at a time when we think and where we think.  I was so focused on getting the shoes and overcoming the barriers that I lost track of valuable time.  God understands our fixation on the things of this world and wants to blanket us with the constant unfolding of more layers of His love.  God is more focused and has more passion for us and our hearts than I had to purchase the shoes.  He is more focused on overcoming the barriers we use to protect and secure ourselves with the false security of this world than we can imagine.  He invites us to look at how and why our lives become unraveled and to let Him peal back the surrounding folds of His unconditional love.

The invitation is presented to us, at a time when we do not know, in a place where we do not expect, the great revealing of His love will occur.  Will you be prepared?

Reverend  John J. Ouper