Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Me?

This week's scriptures are Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Luke 1:39-45.

I was reading an article about the Lukan passage by Rev. Craig Barnes today when something he said stopped me short. What he said alluded to the idea that some of the most important words in this passage are "why me?" The whole quote spoken by Elizabeth is "and why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?"

Now let's forget for a moment all the stuff Luke is trying to do in this first chapter to establish Jesus (not John) as the Messiah. Let's just listen to Elizabeth. "Why me?"

This is not the anguished "why me?" of one whose suffering has become unbearable. There are those for whom this is a legitimate cry...and it is, in fact, that cry that is answered when God takes on human flesh at Christmas. The "why me?" of anguish becomes the "now we" of 'Emmanual, God with us.'

Nor is this the whiney "why me?" of those (myself included some days) who believe that they are entitled to avoid all the "slings and arrows of outragous fortune" and consider it a cosmic affront that they have to face whatever misfortune has come their way.

This is the "why me?" of extra-ordinary awareness in an ordinary moment. Two women. One old and maybe starting to wonder whether this late life pregancy stuff was all it was cranked up to be. The other, young and frightened; what would Joseph say? How would she face the neighbors? What about all the stories the women had told around the well and the cooking pots about pregancy and childbirth?
This is a moment as old as the beginning of social living and as new as this morning. And yet...in the middle of it, Elizabeth has a "why me?" moment. A moment of such awe and wonder that she forgets that her feet have gone flat, her back hurts, and the baby is constantly pushing on her bladder. There is life here! And what's more there is something special going on that I just can't quite fathom it is so incredible.....Why ME? Why do I get to see this?

Zephaniah was trying to spur the Children of Israel to such a moment. He described how, in spite of all of their failures, all of their sins, God was going to preserve a remnant of Jerusalem. He says on God's behalf, "I shall take away your cries of woe and you will no longer endure reproach." One proper response to such Grace is "why me?"

A mother and father look at their new born baby...perhaps even one as beautiful as Evan...and part of them must ask "why me?"

A person given a second chance at life, recieving a donated organ where once their illness would have been a death sentence: "why me?"

Every individual who has know what it means to feel forgiveness from a loved one they have injured knows the cry "why me?"

I wonder what would happen if more of our days began with the words "why me?" Why am I so blessed? Why have I been forgiven? Why have I been allowed to experience this moment, this day, this brilliant burst of love?

What gratitude would flow from us? How would it shape our day? What difference would it make in our lives and the lives of those around us?

Especially this season as we look into the manger; as we see God lying there tiny vulnerable one of us....let us ask in awe...Why Me?

See you Sunday.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Broadneck Baptist Church said...

Spam comment removed by Jeremy