The Disruption of a Child


Progressive Christian Reflections by Chris Glaser: The Disruption of a Child

The Disruption of a Child

God has been imagined in a
myriad of ways, but for me, one of the most profound images of the deity is
fantasizing God as a child.
any parent will tell you that having a child will disrupt your life, waking you
at all hours, interrupting your plans for the day or your life, on occasion
breaking your heart with their discoveries of human limitations and frailties—including
your own—and their willfulness and resistance to your best of hopes.
this, and yet a child has promise, promise of companionship, promise of an
unbreakable bond, promise of a better future for the world.
why the Christmas nativity stories speak to me.
And to think of God as
vulnerable, weak, needing care and protection, so that the promises of God may
be fulfilled! This is the spiritual life for the followers of Jesus:
to be attentive to Jesus’
incarnation of God as compassionate, fatherly and motherly (think of the “Our
Father” and the mother hen gathering her brood), creating and nurturing the birds
of the air and the lilies of the field, feeding the multitudes, healing the
sick, raising the dead, forgiving the crucifiers—remember, all these things Jesus
asked of God in prayer. Jesus was the embodiment, God was the inspiration.
thoughts came to me Sunday as I was part of a cluster of congregants (alongside
similar clusters) creating Chrismons, symbols of the Christ, for our “Chrismon
tree” at Ormewood Church: chalices, crowns, crosses, and more. Half of our
cluster would be identified as “children,” but we were all children, both at
heart and in reality: somebody’s children as well as children of God. We
enjoyed the interruptive playfulness of creation in the midst of worship.
are welcome in our services, and though their drawing and coloring can sometimes
distract from our pastor Jenelle’s or our seminary interns’ theological
insights, many of us believe that their “disruptions” open our hearts to the
serendipity, creativity, refreshing playfulness of God.
A dropped crayon rolling
on the floor can be as much an occasion for joy as a spiritual insight.
yet we did not miss a central message in Sunday’s sermon, that despite
everything going on in our troubled world, we are to lift our heads in hope, in
action, in resolve. “Stand up and raise your heads,” was the repeated sermonic refrain
from Jesus in Luke 21:28, to which Jenelle would plaintively but rhetorically ask,
“Really?” in a kind of litany contrasting the admonition with one trouble after
another in our world.
our heads in hope, in action, and in resolve is the ultimate disruption of the
status quo, “the powers that be,” the way things are.
Jesus was the great
Disruptor, challenging empire, income inequality, self-righteousness, political
and religious authority, vengeance, and indifference.
Sunday, December 9, 2018 I will be speaking for the 9:45 service of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta, Georgia, on “Christmas for the
Spiritual but Not Religious.” The public is welcome!
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Copyright © 2018 by Chris R. Glaser.
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