An inconvenient arrangement
By Fr. Jonathan Filkins
A father rolls over in his slumber to answer the phone on the nightstand. It is 2:00 am. With a groggy hello, the respondent relays, “Dad, I have just been kicked out and have no other place to go, but back with you.” “OK,” replies the sleepy dad, “but understand we don’t really want you here. I’ll go and unlock the front door and we will talk in the morning.” This was an inconvenient arrangement.
As Katy entered her home, she knew something wasn’t right. It was far too warm and she had looked forward to the coolness after a long day at the restaurant. Checking the aged thermostat, it could be heard clicking on and off; and then nothing. Clearly, something was wrong so, after checking the circuit breaker, she called for repairs. After an inspection, the serviceman announced, “It’s the compressor. You might as well replace the whole system. I figure it should be around five-thousand dollars.” Katy didn’t have the money, so she obtained a loan. This was an inconvenient arrangement.
Jermaine entered the lot, looking for a designated handicap parking space. Quickly noting they were all taken, he also noted that several of the vehicles did not have the requisite handicap plates, or hanging tags. Frustrated, he pulled over and waited. He needed the parking space, as he had recently been diagnosed with cancer, after heart-bypass surgery, and could not walk very far. Seeing no one coming, he took a spot about midway in the aisle. Jermaine used all of his strength to get to the electric scooter. It was an inconvenient arrangement.
While we may grouse about these kind of circumstances, and innumerable others, the reality of life is these “inconvenient arrangements.” When we begin to truly address the depth of our Faith, the inconvenient arrangements become even a potentially greater burden than what we may carry on this earth. As Christian’s affirm their Faith, they are making an inconvenient arrangement with God, through Jesus Christ. Beforehand, they were allowing themselves to pursue whatever conduct they chose; no matter what they thought, or what they did. Now, through the Scripture of the Holy Bible, and the Holy Ghost, they are taught restraint and responsibility; constraint and accountability. Indeed, this is an inconvenient arrangement.
It is a part of our fallen human nature to bristle when someone, or something, tells us what to do. Oftentimes, we are forced to make a decision which we would rather not; as the drowsy father, Katy and Jermaine have had to do. Yet, our Faith is far more nebulous than an early morning telephone call, a broken heat pump, or a non-existent parking space.
When Jesus Christ was interrogated by the Pharisees, and it was demanded to know who he was, he replied, “I am.” The reply left no ambiguity about who Jesus was, as he was telling his interlopers of his presence before Abraham’s time’ and always. The reply helped to set the foundation for the Christian Faith and the Jesus we know. Yet, what we have is a most inconvenient arrangement.
Indeed, as Christians, our arrangement with God is one of joyful acceptance and following his dictates. While we may bristle at the word “dictates,” we must readily acknowledge the Ten Commandments as bedrock Judeo-Christian theology. Certainly, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we read, “the meek shall inherit the earth.” This direct quotation from our Savior, found in the Gospel of Matthew, tells us precisely what are the rewards of humility.
While we may not particularly like the twists and turns of our lives, and the inconvenient arrangements we come to in this life, they pale to insignificance with the potential of Salvation and living eternally with our Creator. Now, this is NOT an inconvenient arrangement.