Excerpt from a piece I wrote in 2016.
I am writing this on February 29th, an unexpected day that catches me by surprise roughly once every four years.
Surprisingly, I am not fond of surprises. I remember going to work one morning only to find out, “Surprise, your job has been eliminated.” I also remember going to the doctor only to discover, “Surprise, that lump in your throat is cancer.” I’ve even gone to the bathroom to learn, “Surprise, a tree is growing in your sewer pipe; you’re out $23,000!”
On my 50th birthday this year, Kathleen and the kids had a few surprises up their sleeves, including fifty individually wrapped gifts, with the last being a surprise visitor! Birthday gifts are about the only surprises I still truly enjoy, but that doesn’t stop God from waking me up and shaking me from time-to-time. God is full of surprises, with many yet to come.
Jesus reminds us that we always need to be prepared for you never know when the master will return. Thus we are called to live each day and each moment doing the righteousness of God as a way to be prepared. This is a good way to embrace life and all that it will throw at you. By being always present in God’s grace and peace, you will be better prepared to handle both the good and the bad that might come your way – sometimes at the same time!
Jesus tells his disciples, “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (Mark 13:33). The Greek words used in this passage mean things like ‘Beware! Be alert! Be awake! Keep watch! And for goodness sake, don’t be surprised!’
While we spend the remaining days of Lent reflecting on the power of God’s surprising love for us, we must also remain alert by keeping watch over the condition of our own lives. Peter says it like this, “Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish.’
Our waiting, be it Lent or ordinary time, is a sacred time that invites us and moves us towards Christlikeness. By him and through him we are called to be peacemakers, caretakers, and servants to one another. Surprise! God calls us to be God’s love to one another because it’s in the other we meet God face-to-face.
Hopefully by now this does not come as a surprise to any of you. If it does, then do not be alarmed or shocked. Just be ready to welcome it and embrace it, to always be ready so you want be too surprised to meet him whenever and wherever he comes.
Prayer: God of life, you are always surprising your creation in new and creative ways. How will you surprise me today? As my heart awaits, send me your Spirit so I might be prepared to meet you again, be it today or tomorrow. Amen.