Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday's Meditation

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."
- John 1:14

My wife and I were not prepared to become parents. Okay, maybe my wife was, but I wasn't. Let me explain. From about 4:30 until 7:00 every night, our sweet little newborn child turned into a screaming wind tunnel. She was cranky and inconsolable. Nothing we tried worked; no food, no rocking, no singing. Nothing. I began to understand why Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond gave Robert brandy as an infant.

Our church had organized meals to be delivered because, ha-ha, we're new parents and we didn't know what to expect. I'll never forget one night in particular. Our daughter began "the witching hour," as we called it, a bit early that day. By the time our meals on wheels arrived, my hair line had receded nearly an inch and a foggy glaze (I know it sounds contradictory, but anything is possible after two hours of screaming!) had permanently spread itself across my face for, from what I've been told by the experts, the next thirty years. Anyway, so, these veterans of the parenting industry came to deliver a delicious meal come to the house in the midst of this scream-fest.

They didn't do much. They didn't give any advice or words of comfort that I remember. But their mere presence was enough to give me a second wind and carry me through the rest of the night. They were, in a sense, "The Word become flesh." I hope that doesn't sound blasphemous, because I don't think it is. We are the Body of Christ, the Church, and we are called to be his representatives on Earth.

So often we send a word of encouragement, quote someone a verse of scripture, or give a pat on the back. And all these are good things. But they are not how God chose to deal with the problem of human suffering. "The Word became flesh." Emanuel. God with us.

Lord, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear the suffering and pain of our human condition. May our arms be your arms and hold those who mourn. May our hands be your hands which reach out to the lonely and disenfranchised. May our feet be your feet as we rush with compassion to those who are in the darkness of life. Amen.