Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Where's Your Other Arm: for the "By the Way" column in The Medicine Hat News Saturday, August 3rd

This is a distillation of the homily I preached on Sunday, July 28th, at StB—see below.
I have a little friend who helps me on Sunday mornings from time to time. His name is Hezekiah, the Righteous Rodent, a church mouse. He’s a puppet who lives in an overnight bag and on my right arm. I’m not a ventriloquist, so he communicates by whispering in my ear and I share what he has to say.  
Once there was a young woman with Down Syndrome, I’ll call her Kristy, who came up with the children to meet with Hezekiah each Sunday. One day, after about a year of this, she realized that something was missing and spoke up, right there in the service, and said to me, "Hey! Where's your other arm?" Everyone laughed and I think I explained that I was using it to hold Hezekiah’s bag.  
It occurred to me recently that what she thought was missing was actually making what she enjoyed happen. It was my “other” arm, the one she couldn't see, that was making Hezekiah real to her and the children. 
And then I wondered about God having an “other” arm. Sometimes when I compare the mighty acts of God I read about in the Bible with the reality of life around me something appears to be missing for me, too. I can find myself questioning God much as Kristy questioned me: “God, you don’t seem to be doing anything here. Where’s your other arm? The powerful one. The one that’ll fix my problems, deliver the oppressed, clothe the naked, feed the hungry and sort the things that are wrong with the world?” 
The fact is, God’s “other” arm is there and is at work even (perhaps “especially”) when it seems to be missing. God’s strong arm is at work animating me, telling The Story of Jesus through me, enabling me to serve others in Jesus’ name and getting what our heavenly Father wants done, done.  
God’s arm is strong and everlasting. I can trust in its strength even when I can’t see it. So can you.