Parson to Person April 2017

“Watching Eggs Hatch”

A number of you asked me to share (in this week’s Wednesday Alert) what I said in last Sunday’s sermon about dealing with change. There’s not enough room to print the whole sermon, of course, but the following is a bit of a digest that I hope some of you may find helpful:

If you’ve ever watched an egg hatching, it looks fairly simple. You see the egg wriggle a little, you hear some muffled pecking or scratching sounds, then maybe a tiny crack appears, and maybe even a tiny hole. Though it takes hours, it may look simple from the outside – as if this little creature inside is sort of leisurely opening its shell.

But it’s not quite like that from the baby bird’s perspective. From the baby bird’s perspective it’s a grueling experience. For a long time it’s been inside its own little world, protected by its shell, and digesting the liquid food around it. Sweet life. But at some point the food is gone and the chick is getting hungry, and it’s also feeling cramped and squeezed by this hard wall around it. In desperation it eats at the shell surrounding it and starts squeezing through the cracks. And it may look cute from the outside, but it’s not that way from within. The chick pecks and pecks, and then it gets worn out and has to stop. But then it tries again and gets worn out again, even hungrier this time. Then it tries again. (It’s sort of like knocking your head against a wall, and it doesn’t seem to do any good but you don’t know what else to do. So you do it, then you lie back exhausted, then you do it again. And you keep doing it until you either break free from that shell… or kill yourself trying.)

That’s what an Easter experience really is: It’s not just modifying your life, but breaking out of the mold you’ve been living in. And a part of you wishes you could just go back into the world you knew – but even now you realize that you couldn’t stay in that world. It was smothering you! You were desperate. You had to get out.

Out of that… stifling relationship; out of that… stifling job or career; out of that… stifling role you had taken on that you just could not keep playing; or out of that stifling religion or world view which was so comforting at one time, but that you just knew was too restrictive for who you’ve become.

I don’t know what your particular egg shell was (or is). But I do know, from talking to many of you, that most of you have had that experience of breaking out of the world you knew, and it was no more graceful than a baby chick pecking through its shell (even though it might have looked graceful to people on the outside looking in).

I even think our country may be going through an experience like that right now. We seem to be squeezed behind a desperate shell that no longer works as a world view. But, my gosh, pecking away at it is so exhausting! And we don’t know how long it will take and what the future will hold. We can’t see the world on the other side, or even know if it’s better. All we know is that we’ve got to keep pecking away, pecking away, and we’re feeling squeezed and cramped, and it’s not pleasant, and it might not be for a while.

But we’re in this egg together, and we need to keep on pecking away because one day – don’t know when it’ll be, don’t know if I’ll see it in my lifetime – but one day people will look back at this time and will be happy that we did not give up the struggle, that we did not forsake our values and our vision. And whether we win or lose, future generations will look back and say:

There lived a valiant people, who fought for what they believed in,
and they didn’t all live to see the fruits of the seeds they planted, but they planted anyway,
because they knew it was important to do so.
There lived a people who, as the ancients said,
“charged like a charging storm, and snorted in rampaging winds,
their feet continually restless,
their eyes weeping the tears of injustice,
their lips breathing out the music of freedom.”
There lived a people.
A people who didn’t see all their dreams come true, but knew it was important to dream them anyway.
A people who were met with obstacles at every turn, but did not shy away from them.
A people who were told their views didn’t count, and their cause would fail, so it would be be smarter
to shut up–and they said no.
There lived a people. And I’m looking at them right now.

      I’m looking at them. And I so want them to know that it’s important that they are here, engaging hands and hearts to end oppression…
because whether they succeed at everything they try or not, it’s important that they tried.

I’m looking at them, and I know that they’ll crack open the egg…or die trying.

peace and unrest,

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