Advent 101: to "treasured up" and "ponder"
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
On our trip to Brooklyn, NY, a couple of thoughts hit me that I’d like to share one of them this
morning. Perhaps these ponderings are in the spirit of Advent: a time where we are called to sit in the darkness a bit and see just what we are missing in our lives. One of the big events Cyndy and I were able to participate in while we were in NY was a visit to the NY Metropolitan Museum. One of our friends, Jayson Dobney, is the curator of the Music Museum at the Met, and while we were there he shared how being closed for a while during the pandemic helped the staff at the Met realize something very special about the Metropolitan Museum that they had forgotten…the fact that it’s a public space. He shared a story of an elderly man who had always been a big fan of the Met. In fact, he proposed to his wife to be on a bench in one of the larger spaces there. Every year the couple would come back and sit on that bench and treasure and ponder the great gift their love had been and was. But then his wife died, and he just couldn’t find the strength to go back to that bench. There were too many memories there and those memories were so painful now. He stopped going to the Met. But then, after 3 years of avoiding this space, a friend invited him to a concert there and during the concert he felt someone/something pulling him towards that bench. And as he sat there, instead of pain, he felt the holy presence of his wife again! She was somehow there…present. A part of this public space. After that moment this man made the trip to the Met every month, and as he sat on that bench he treasured and pondered this gift.
But then the pandemic hit! And, for six months, this man couldn’t go and sit on that sacred bench. The first day the Met reopened after the pandemic, this man was one of the first ones in line. Jayson found him sitting on the bench weeping…he had missed the presence of his wife so much. It was then that this man told Jayson his story.
Public spaces have so many stories. They become for us treasures. Sacred spaces where we can ponder and remember.
Our church building has started to come back as a public space now. It’s so fun to see our folks gather on Sunday morning and start to be a community again. I’m wondering what stories are being created as we gather? What memories are being stored? What memories are being treasured and pondered? Think back for a moment at some of the public spaces you have in your heart. Schools, libraries, parks, museums, and ball fields. What memories to they hold for you?
Take a bit of time to think of the church as a public space. What memories do you hold in your heart for this space at Bear Creek? What people surround those memories? Think also of other sacred spaces you have been a part of like camps and places of mission? Think of some of the events that you’ve been a part of: Baptisms. Weddings. Funerals. Some of the awakenings you have hopefully had. Some of you may have even knelt in a space like Bear Creek’s and given your life to Christ.
It is interesting to think of the sacred spaces God provided in the Christmas story. The place where Mary sang her song. The little house that Mary met Elizabeth and they shrieked for joy as the babe in each of their wombs leapt for joy. The hill out in the fields where the angels invited the shepherds into God’s story. And finally, the most sacred place of all, at least for me: the lowly manger given to Mary and Joseph by the Innkeeper and his wife. The only room they had to spare. But as little as it was, and as dark as it was, it was enough room for the Christ child. And there in that little room, the shepherds came, the angels sang, the cows mooed, the doves cooed, and the baby cried. Why, there were even strange stargazers from the East that wandered in! I wonder if Mary ever went back to that space and sat long enough to treasure and ponder all that she had experienced that day? Do you think the shepherds found room in their busy lives to wander back in and sit a spell? Who knows, maybe the wisemen made another pilgrimage or two!
Hmm…maybe it’s time for you to take that trip, too. To journey again and sit where the Christ child broke into this world, or into your world. To wonder. To marvel. To remember. To treasure.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:6
Your friend and pastor, praying, pondering, and treasuring with you, Brook