Expect The Unexpected – Parish Mission

When someone talks about a “favorite Bible passage” there are many to choose from, but it is not surprising that I would choose this First Reading from the Fourth Sunday in Lent as one of mine (1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A). This should be very easy for the casual observer to figure out. My first name is David and the reading I have chosen is the passage in which the most famous David from the Bible is selected by Solomon to be the King of Israel. It’s the story about my biblical namesake.

But I connect with the story on an even deeper level. I’m the youngest child with older brothers who tended to pick on me. I would dream of the possibility of the heavens opening and I would get showered with affection and attention over my bigger, older brothers. The very prospect would make me grin ear to ear. It is sort of how I imagine the First Reading today, the youngest child of Jesse gets chosen over his quite dominant and capable older brothers to become the King of Israel.

Beyond, my own personal association with the text, what we learn from this genre of story in the Bible is God’s tendency to be found in the unexpected. God lurks in the subtle surprise and delights in the unforeseen.

It’s why I’m looking forward to the Parish Mission this week starting Sunday March 26, 2017 at 6:30pm at Saint Benedict Parish. Parish Missions have always been places and times to me of delightful surprise, starting when I was just a kid.

When I was little, I remember my mom bringing me to church one night when some priest was going to talk. “Great!” I thought to myself (I was always just a little bit sarcastic), I’ll just bore myself through it all by reading the advertisements in the bulletin. I was just a kid.

I don’t remember much about what the priest said, but I do remember this. It was the first time I ever laughed in Church. The preacher who was speaking from the pulpit started off his homily with a joke and it made everyone in the church laugh. Even as a little tyke, I laughed! I never knew that laughing was allowed in church!

I don’t know if you’ll laugh while at the mission this week. Perhaps, knowing Dr. Timone Davis, I imagine that you will, but this I can say for certain, “I bet that you’ll be surprised.” I hope you can glean that expectation based on the anecdote I shared about my first Parish Mission and from the scriptures in today’s readings. God has a very unusual way of working in this world. There is always a peculiar twist or unexpected wrinkle that makes the story a little more than special.

But like King David in the First Reading, there is a catch. To discover the unexpected, you’ve got to show up when you’re called. In the story, David was out in the field, minding his own business, doing his work. When God called him, he had to stop what he was doing, take a moment away from his daily tasks, and be present. He had to show up, and in that moment, he discovered that God was blessing him.

This week at the Parish Mission, the same phenomenon is a play. Of course this is a busy week, just like any other, and we have lots of things to get done. No matter. God is calling you. He has a gift for you that exceeds your now prescribed expectation. Show up and see how God will surprise you.

– David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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