1 Chronicles 25:1a,6-8
One Saturday a few weeks ago, bone-chillingly cold and overcast, the U.S. Capitol building stood timeless and defiant against the deep freeze. The Capitol Reflecting Pool at the eastern end of the Mall, frozen solid from an unforgiving week of “sub-zero” temperatures, served as a playground to revelers. College-aged boys laugh as they fall backward, shocked by the impact of hard ice (did they not know how hard it would be?); girlfriends, red-faced and squealing, are dragged along in large circles by their boyfriends using scarves as pullies; children, nervous and unsteady, wobble between encouraging adults; flocks of befuddled seagulls pad persistently atop their locked-in food. All participants are equal subjects of the experiment in mass psychology – inflating the general sense of security and causing rational thought to be abandoned wildly (has anyone even asked about the true depth and durability of the ice?) in this picture-perfect wintry tableau. Residents, tourists, immigrants, students, grandparents momentarily give up complaining about the winter to enjoy it – recklessly, unthinkingly.
God, timeless and defiant against our personal deep freezes—our countless refusals to love and be loved—stands above us and waits. The Prodigal Son came back to his father after years of rejecting love; the father had waited, knowingly. His embrace provided the final thaw needed for his son to choose to love and be loved again.
We struggle inside our own frozen spaces, with our intellectual mediocrity, our physical and emotional failings, our financial and status-based ambitions. Yet eventually we choose to love – to tolerate our neighbor’s car-talk, to smile patiently for the 100th time that day as our infirm parent puts on his/her coat and hat; we choose to produce work for someone without hope of payback, to love someone else’s child because it’s a child. And the thaw comes to us – like a waiting father’s embrace: the Father’s embrace.
– Amy Clarke