But this morning, I adjusted my habit to include Jack. I'm happy that I did. We sat by the dim lights of our Christmas tree, with our coffee and our lap quilts--tired, soft, down throws--for maybe a couple of hours. Couch church includes reading the Divine Hours, and Jack is the assigned reader, since we're using his favorite readings. You should hear us when we get to the Our Father. It's a horse race, and he always finishes first. (When his mom used to pray with us, she always beat both of us. We laughed about that, too.)
And then I went to Elkhart to speak. It's already the Second Sunday of Advent, and today we finally sang "O Come, O Come, Immanuel." And the cantor was none other than Willie Nelson! Who knew? He has a great voice, but have you ever tried to sing along with Willie? He does his own thing. So I finally stopped singing, except on the parts I know best, and just listened. With my eyes shut.
I spoke after Mass, and we were on the story about the raising of Lazarus, which is not about Lazarus at all. I pointed out that if this were a three-part play, Lazarus would have the walk-on bit part at the end. A sort of cameo appearance. The drama is really about his sisters, Martha and Mary.
So we grappled for a bit over the scandal of death, which is still with us today. We tried to come to terms with what Martha tried to come to terms with: What did Jesus mean when he said we will never die? What does death mean if resurrection is real? Does seeing mean believing, or is it the other way around?
Our favorite part was when Martha came out to meet Jesus (when he finally arrived), hurt and mad--"The funeral's OVER, and you missed it! You let me down!" Spoken like a true friend. And then in the very next breath she said, "Even now, I know that God will do whatever You ask." A genuine statement of faith, though I don't think even she knew what she meant by that.
Which reminds me a lot of my own prayers. My latest goes like this. "I know You. . .and You're going to do what You're going to do." Which means, to me, that God is going to be God. We have a long-ish history, and I know from experience that I can thrash around and try to demand my way, or we can reason this out together, and I can trust. (And I still carry the list of possibilities for good outcomes in my pocket, in case I'm asked for suggestions.)