Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” -John 1:16
It’s an intersection, but there’s no traffic lights… it’s a four way stop. You can learn a great deal about a person by the way in which they approach the four way stop.
First, there is the “overachiever." They race to the stop sign, slam on the breaks, and at the first sign of hesitation or weakness from another driver, they blaze through.
Second, there’s the “overly cautious.” These folks look and listen, look and listen, and then refuse to go until all the other cars have moved on. This is okay, but this can be maddening for folks who are waiting their turn. Which leads us to our next personality, the “rule follower.”
The “rule follower” approaches the four way stop attentively, their analysis has already begun. They have a keen sense of who got there first, whose turn it is to go, and when their turn happens to be. This sounds like the perfect personality, not really. As soon as someone doesn’t take their turn at the appropriate time, the structure of the rule followers universe crumbles and they become nothing short of apoplectic. They are utterly paralyzed by the injustice. Oh, the humanity!
The final person at the four way stop is the “Lutheran pastor” who is so busy trying to find something to write about that their foot slips from the brake and they slowly drift into the intersection - thereby confounding everyone including themselves. Horns blare, hands are waved, signals are given… and as the varied personalities jolt, stop, sputter, and eventually make their way through the jumbled mess a voice can be heard over the roaring engines, “peace be with you!”
What can the four way stop teach us? None of us are perfect, all are in need of God’s grace, and when it comes to reckoning with fellow drivers and all our neighbors for that matter, that’s a great place to start. We’ll stop here for today.
Question for reflection: Where’s your favorite, or not so favorite intersection?
Yours in Christ,
God of love, peace, and mercy fill our days with meaning and purpose. Give us inspiring moments of rest and reflection as well opportunities for life-giving service. Persistently remind us that it is in you that we live, and move, and have our being. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.