Today (December 27) I was returning home for lunch, and had pulled partway into the garage when I remembered that I had forgotten to pick up the lunch meat for my sandwich. So I threw the car in reverse, quickly backed out, and before I knew it my front bumper was dragging the ground! It had caught on the edge of the garage, and pulled almost entirely off, dangling by a couple screws on the driver’s side. Hmmm.
It’s amazing what a moment of carelessness can accomplish if you don’t put your mind to it. There was only minor damage to the garage door, but the car looked pitiful. So after talking to the body shop, getting an estimate, they gave me the good news. The car can be repaired!
I can’t repair the car by my own efforts. I don’t have the skills, or the knowledge. But there is a place I can take it where it can get the care it needs. There is someone there who can repair it. Bad things happen. Sometimes they happen because we’re careless, and sometimes they happen regardless of precautions. And sometimes we need to visit the repair shop. But things can be repaired!
I’m not necessarily talking about cars here. People are the same way. We make messes of our lives, encounter brokenness in our relationships, and lose our way. And frequently, we don’t have the skills or the knowledge to repair our lives by ourselves. But things can be repaired. And church is a place we can go where this can happen.
This past year, 2016, has not been one of my favorite years. Our congregation has lost some good people, and we face difficult challenges as we enter the coming year. But the start of a new year should be a time of hope for all people of faith. We have nothing to deal with that, by the power of God, is beyond repair. Jesus Christ can and does make us whole, and his ability to repair lives is one of the things that proves who he really is.
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities. 2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 4Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." (Matthew 11:1-6 NRSV)
Jesus still makes us whole. This year I hope you will commit yourself to visiting the repair shop that is Maple Avenue United Methodist Church, invite your friends and neighbors, and together we’ll allow Jesus to prove himself once more.
However 2017 unfolds, I have this hope. Regardless of the bumps and dents in our lives, things can be repaired.
God Bless You This New Year!