For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain and courage,
Bethlehem is not the end of our journey, but only the beginning —
not home but the place through which we must pass
if we are ever to reach home at last.
— Frederick Buechner
This passage reminded me of the UCC’s poster a few years back, a copy of which we made into a sign for our fence. It was one of our most beloved signs. I used to see peple taking their picture next to it. In fact, it was so popular someone stole it!
It had a picture of Dorothy holding Toto, and the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion. And it read: “My church is a little like Oz: you need a heart, and a brain, and some courage.”
I liked this Buechner passage as our prompt for the first full day of this year’s Creche ministry: The stable and the corral are positioned. The straw is spread. Water and hay in the troughs. The painted figures are in place too. The lights work. The contributions box is chained to the hand sanitizer dispenser. The stories of Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wise men are posted. And the animals — ah, the sheep, and the goats and the donkey — have gone live.
All, essentially, so we can invite people to go to Bethlehem with us.
If you are on the way to Bethlehem, because it’s some place you must pass through on the way to your final destination… what must you get in Bethlehem, or what needs to happen to you there, in order that you can move on further, towards home?
Extra credit: Read Psalm 132 twice today, with significant time in between readings. What is God saying to you?