I’ve never been one of those super-serious clergy persons. The type that is very stoic in all that they do, especially when they lead worship. Actually, that’s something that I will never understand; how pastors can remain so serious while leading God’s people in worship. This isn’t to say that worship isn’t a serious endeavor, but when we’re up in the chancel area we see and hear everything going on in the pews and throughout the sanctuary. Whether it’s the older gentlemen coughing up a storm, the loud ding from a person’s cell phone letting them know they got a text, or those who walk down the aisle in the middle of the sermon. It’s hard not to be distracted by these things, but it’s also hard not to laugh at these things. That in the midst of what should be a reverent time there is a whole lot of irreverence.
In the throes of leading such a worship experience this past Sunday, an image of the first Christmas popped up into my head along those words from John 1, “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” I suppose I could get upset at the lack of reverence and become righteously indignant but I believe that the incarnation teaches us otherwise. The incarnation teaches us that God dwells among us in the midst of the “isness” of life. There is always the ideal or the “what should be” that can all too easily pull us away from the gift of the present in all of its blessed imperfection. Yes, the Word became flesh, but He also became flesh in the throes of a less than ideal world where rulers immediately wanted him dead and a band of notorious shepherds were the first non-family members to welcome him into the world. I suppose it could’ve been better, but into such an irreverent situation our God decides to come.