A father called his son the day before Christmas and told him, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”
“Dad, what are you talking about?!” the son screamed.
“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father continued. “We’re sick of each other . . . and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister and tell her.”
Frantic, the son quickly called his sister, who exploded on the phone, shouting, “Like heck they’re getting divorced! I’ll take care of this!”
She called her father immediately, and screamed”You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing! DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hung up.
With a slight grin on his face, the old man hung up his own ‘phone and turned to his wife.
“Okay,” he reported. “They’re both coming for Christmas . . . and they’re both paying their own way.”
So began Bishop John Pritchard’s sermon on Christ Church meadows this Saturday. His sermons are always challenging, but this one particularly so — divorce is not something I can joke about right now….if only my mother had been joking when she rang to tell me she was leaving my father. As the sermon continued, I plunged deeper into darker thoughts. By the end, after every point that had been made, I’d arrived quite solidly at the conclusion that my life is simply One Futile Mess that I cannot handle.
But then there was Eucharist. John Pritchard describes it as an exchange of our lives for His promises. For days before, I had found myself unable to pray. But now, now I could. Just two words. Take it. But that was enough to feel at peace – to feel held again, safe knowing that God is in control.
And the next day, Taize. In the sanctuary, sat on the cool floor, the music and calm melted all the rubbish and exhaustion from the week away, and I could engage again. Not only with the service, but with the people around me. And they loved it, too. And I feel loved, and part of something. I turn the moment over in my mind afterwards; treasure it. I could live for Taize.