WORD WEEK 12-18-05 NO ROOM AT THE INN
CHANGE: it appears is the most constant dynamic in a world that is fraught with wonder, beauty, hope, fear, anxiety, sadness, and devastation. While wisdom literature, our spirituality, and time teaches us that none of us has the power to CHANGE another, each of us does have the power to change oneself. Nevertheless, this does not imply that the actions that we take or the behaviors that we exhibit do not impact others, because they do in fact, oftentimes, in as cosmic manner as they create a ripple effect that gets lived-out, for many, many years subsequent to our mortal return to the dust of the universe.
Ironically, while CHANGE does usher in a sense of reprieve, renewal, and reignited hope, CHANGE may also heighten anxiety. Though CHANGE is a critical element in our development as human beings, it becomes increasingly difficult to embrace CHANGE when many persons are excluded or "shut out." As we approach the season of Advent with a greater degree of reverence and intimacy, we are compelled by our potential under the light of the brilliance of the CHRIST-CHILD as well as convicted by "TRUTH" in the places where we have excluded or "shut out" others or even in some instances have "shut out" or excluded ourselves.
As we take an amplified look at the Advent Narrative, we are given a compelling glimpse of the intertwined nature of the coexistence joy and solemnity as the Betrothed Virgin, The Wise Old Man, and significantly, the imminent birth of the Christ-Child inadvertently becomes the catalyst of their exclusion and the dynamic that fuels their being "shut out." As observers, we become witnesses to the ways in which both community and the world by and large, on some level, abort both compassion and empathy. The Advent Narrative informs the community of faith that subsequent to the proclamation of the annunciation and the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, a spirit of exclusion was pandemic and prevalent throughout the land. While the chosen Virgin was given the following news, she was not initially cognizant of its implications. The Angel of the LORD said:
And the angel having taken the figure and the form of a man, came into the house and said to her "Hail Mary, full of grace to whom is given grace, favored one, the Lord, is with thee, blessed art thou among women." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit. Since she knew not the, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said; "Fear not, Mary, for thou has found grace with God, Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus." LUKE 1:28-31
As we journey and take flight from one city to another; i.e., from Jerusalem to Egypt [there are many Jerusalems and Egypts in our lives], in pursuit of safety with Joseph and the pregnant Mary, we are given an opportunity to become more intimately acquainted with the pathos of their encounters in their exposure to exclusion and that of being "shut out." On one hand, Mary's credibility and her reputation as a virtuous woman were called into question as she was with child and without verification of an earthly father nor being married at the time of the conception, yet on the other hand, Joseph was a respected and revered man of many years and "wisdom" whose sanity and reputation were called into question when he accepted the betrothal of Mary who he had not known, both of whom were cosmically intertwined by the birth of the Christ-Child whose life was already at risk by Herod for fear of the fulfillment of prophecy. As many of us are allow ourselves to be present to this reality, we can still hear the swift winter winds sing of the presence of goodness, good will, anticipation, and divine danger in the air.
In essence, the presence of good will and goodness were by-products of the birth of Christ and the divine danger was that Christ's entrance into the world would revolutionize humanity for eternity through love, mercy and grace! Consequently, Joseph and Mary where excluded; they were "shut out!" They were "shut out" by their communities, perhaps by others whom had professed their faithful friendship and or love, and still by others who dared to be associated with those who were the recipients of negative press and bad public relations. As they flee for fear of their lives and the life of the soon to be born Christ-Child, they encounter one exclusion after the other, door after door being closed, opportunity after opportunity being denied, repeated displacement, and the stinging rejection of others! They were indeed "shut out" and it appeared "shut out" by safety, hope, life, and perhaps love!
Moreover, far too many of GOD'S BELOVED PEOPLE continue to experience exclusion and a sense of being "shut out." Some persons are excluded because they speak differently, some because they look differently, others because of their class, financial status, gender, or areas in which they are geographically located, and still others because such an exclusion is self-imposed as a consequence of complacency, mediocrity, and an unwillingness to be stretched, self-examine, and become less self-focused and self-centered. In other words, some persons have removed themselves from the invitation to be embraced by the love, fellowship, unconditional regard, and the community of others, sometimes, by their attitudes and other times by their deeds and actions.
Significantly, Mary knows that the time is rapidly approaching and it appears that the only place that could function as a maternity ward is that of a makeshift stable. Consequently, Mary, Joseph, and the unborn Christ-Child offer us hope and inspiration during the season of Advent because they surge forward in faith. For some persons, this time of year will bring the closeness and love of family and friends and security, yet for other persons, this time of year will heighten the lack of closeness, potentially fuel exclusion, recapitulate loss, and deflate hope. Mercy request For Your People O' Lord!
In other words, people greatly suffer when there is No Room At The INN! Perhaps the INN to which you are attending is physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. Perhaps, the INN to which you have attempted to gain access appears closed, shut down, or even barren. In essence, Closed Inns hurt others. Beloved, GOD'S people have walked away from service because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from love because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from tolerance because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from a genuine desire to understand because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from openness as it requires too much authentic introspection because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from passion because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from integrity because There Is No Room At The Inn; they have walked away from power because they feel, far too frequently, defeated by the daily malaise of making it from one moment to the next because There Is No Room At The Inn! Significantly, GOD'S BELOVED PEOPLE have walked away from hope without realizing that when There Is No Room At The Inn, that eternity meets our "NOW-HERE-NESS" and that the HOLY SPIRIT provides each of us with a place of refuge that will never exclude anyone from THE INN OF GOD. Nevertheless, when one is "shut out" of the INN, or when There Is No Room At The Inn, he/she must rely on the love and mercy of the LORD!
Beloved, the GOOD NEWS is, though you might be the recipient of the exclusion of others, though you might be told that there is No Room At The INN, though you, because of your woundedness, might exclude yourself from the acceptance, invitation to deepen, and the fellowship of others, or though you might emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, or physically shut yourself off from others, with and in GOD, there is always ROOM AT THE INN OF GOD! God does make provisions as he specializes in transforming a barren stable into The Stable Divine!
During the season of Advent, may the LORD GOD envelope you in HIS presence and in this sacred and holy place may you find Room In The Inn Of Love, Room In The Inn Of Peace, Room In The Inn Of Joy, Room In The Inn Of Contentment, Room In The Inn Of Safety, Room In The Inn Of Renewal, Room In The Inn Of Release, Room In The Inn Of Hope, and Room In The Inn Of Security that surpasses all understanding through Christ the Lord!
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