Sunday, 7 August 2016

Expect the unexpected

In John Caputo's book, 'What would Jesus Deconstruct?', the author outlines Derrida's "least bad" definition of deconstruction one indeed that Caputo himself likes (pg 54). In a nutshell Derrida states that there is a predictable future (a 'future present') and one that is over the horizon of expectancy ('the absolute future') the event that we cannot participate that disrupts our lives; that removes the certainty of our human constructed structures.  In other words, 'There is a future which is predictable...But there is a future to come (l'avenir) which refers to someone who comes whose arrival is totally unexpected.' (Derrida quoted in 'Preaching after God' by Phil Snider, pg. 135). In a very real sense this is what we should be preparing for 'the totally unexpected' when we await Christ.  Christ highlights our preparedness in the Gospel (Lk. 12.32-33) and this need to expect the unexpected (Lk. 12.35-40).

We can prepare for most things today.  We have certain expectancies that in life we can plan for, the future that is made present, as it comes to us in the certainty of our careers, our businesses, our home life and our social calendar.  Not least of all in our taxes and our expenditure that for individuals are things that we can guarantee let alone expect. These are the platforms on which we build our daily lives relying on our past experience and our expectations for the future.  We prepare our purses and our schedules in such a fashion that those things that we know are going to be undertaken do not become mountains or impossible tasks, less we submerge ourselves in misery and despair.  In any form of leadership this is the task that is set before us so that we can lead people into a new or better place or at least maintain a certain level of service / comfort that meets the expectations of those we lead.  However, this also points us towards a status quo, a non movement forward, a non growth of our potential and what could be.  It is when we are driven out of our expectations into new places and new things that we become alive once more, alive to the possibilities inherent in the call to be a follower of Christ, to be a Christian.

The Unexpected Guest - Heather Lara 

In (not)-preparing for the unexpected, because as soon as we prepare it becomes the expected, we need to be flexible and listen for that call that leads us into the new and challenging circumstances that confront us as we take on the risk of faith.  This is not an enviable position to be in as leaders and yet if we answer God's call on our lives this is exactly where we will find ourselves as we seek to bring God's people into conversation with that call.  It is a question of allowing our experiences to be present to us and yet not govern us or the moves that we make.  Too often we allow our past to dictate what the future will bring.  Yes we have an experience that needs to inform our actions but not to dictate them.  In confronting our prejudices and our hurts and our dislikes we often find that it is our past that is dictating how we experience the present and the future.  In not allowing the unexpected to draw us into a new sequence of relationships we die to the possibilities that the Christic event opens in our lives.

We are practical people and our focus is on how to rather than on waiting and responding to the event that disrupts our lives.  In leading the family of God into newness of life we ourselves must be prepared to let go of our own preconceptions of the future.  We need to allow ourselves to be prepared in unpreparedness.  We do not know when the event will occur just as we do not know when the thief will come in the night.  Yet we prepare for the thief without making definite plans as to when and where.  So we prepare for the coming of the event of God's grace in our lives with the understanding that it may never come or it may come this second.  We have to be sufficiently ready to grow and go where God's Spirit may call us without enormous preparations before the time.  If we are called into a new experience of God's abiding presence so we need to be ready to respond with an affirmative that does not deny that experience by locking it down.  Rather we need to be opened up to effectively respond in love to that call.

It is often hard to accept that what we strive for may not be what God wishes for our lives or our institutions.  We may aall be in agreement about where we think God is calling us but then out of nowhere God comes calling and disrupts our planning as Christ appears to us.  It is only in our (un)preparedness and flexibility to accept the Christic event that we move forward in our faith journey.  We need to listen faithfully for God's ever present Spirit as we formulate our life's goals and the goals of our communities.  The call is always there it is when we do not listen and move on our own that GOd's presence is suddenly there changing what we thought to what we ought to do.  Let us always be (un)prepared to accept God's insistent call on our lives.

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