Prayer Time: On the Porch by Rev. K.C. Van Atta-Casebier

November 29, 2021

Incoming, Inbreaking, Indwelling God,

We are cold out here on the porch, bundled up while we continuously sway back and forth, mindful that we have coats and other warming devices to prevent us from the numbness that some of our neighbors experience. Though, it isn’t fool proof I’d say and the numbness does sneak in occasionally, it is especially so the longer we wait out here on this porch. Should we knock again? Hello? Is anyone home?

Finally, a familiar sound, the turn of the door knob and the release of the latch, and then the screeching of the screen door. The porch light helps to unveil a familiar face. Oh, thank God. It’s you. Would you invite us into the parlor of your love? Would you show us the tattered and torn scrapbooks where you’ve kept the highlights of our lives, smiles long gone, hugs passed, loved ones who now breathe eternal? Yes, beloved. Come in and get warm. Welcome back.

I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you. The scrapbooks are on the shelf where I keep them. Would you grab them and the supplies to mend the broken spines and yellowed edges of these memories? Would you spread them out on the coffee table, and sit with me while I mend them? Do you have the time? One by one, we can spread a little salve on each one. And don’t worry if you make a mess, it’s good if you get it all over yourself.

Now, maybe we can dust off the beloved familial relics? There, grab that old shoebox. Why don’t you open it and give each of us one of what you see. For the next several moments as we each held a uniquely ornate and rugged cross symbol, I remembered that our salvation — though deeply personal, is also absurdly communal. Turning back to the box, I noticed the crosses had been wrapped in the scarves you had gifted us all from past winters… and in the very bottom, the trinkets and treasures we’ve received as reminders of the joy of our lives as Christian people.

Would you bring us near and show us the loads of empty pages and new scrapbooks and memory jars ready for these moments we’re living now and the ones to come - the arrivals of new life, the gatherings, the expectant joy? And as we wait, would you imbue us with courage to live as you did — lives worth remembering, lives filled with warmth and grace and abundance, lives where the waiting doesn’t actually feel so scary. And as we continue to move about in the parlor and hear the creaking of the floor beneath us would you remind us of the stories of the great builders of our families and our faith? Before we leave, would you cozy up with us on the couch, light the fireplace and bring us a cup of warm hope to sustain us? And lastly, before we venture back out into the wilderness, would you do that thing that you always do? Would you reignite the pilot light of our inner knowing so that any numbness we feel originates only from the outside, and so we can be incapable of forgetting that we are loved and held until we meet again?

Back out on the porch again, as the latch closes, the screen door clangs back into place, and it feels less cold for some reason. In fact, it feels strangely warm. We inhale collectively the crisp air, and exhale a fiery passion to be put to work. In the name of the one ignited within us who was and is and is yet coming. Amen.