Some things in life just never seem to change. The Detroit Lions losing on Thanksgiving Day. Leaves falling from the trees in northern Indiana in October and November. Cubs' fans waiting until next year. You know... there are some things that never seem to change.
That's true in our personal lives and relationships. I'm the oldest of seven children. Five of us have survived. Sometimes it seems like life has frozen us into a particular posture or position. Nothing seems to change.
One of my siblings and I have spent years sort of half seeing one another. There has been this thing -sadness, fear, resentment, a hope for change you dare not recognize because things seem stuck- between us. We'd smile at one another. We'd talk with one another. We'd offer a hug to one another when we would visit and when we would leave. But there was this thing between... Several times I would gulp, take a deep breath, and say something. Several times I would say, "Is there something we should talk about...because things don't seem right?" We never did...we never could.
Then, a week ago in Chicago, the two of us sat down in a restaurant. Just the two of us. We sat, we talked, we ate...for a couple of hours.
Do you know what? The thing between us is gone. It melted. Oh, we may stop now and then and talk about what was happening in that chapter when we had a tough time seeing one another...approaching one another. But that big thing...that deep thing...between us is gone.
I think it is a God-sized miracle. Just huge. I wouldn't predict to understand it. Like the leper who is healed in the 17th chapter of Luke, I just thank God for it.
This isn't the first time I've seen God pull off something like this. A friend in Mishawaka had a terrible relationship with his adult son. There had been no relationship to speak of for years. And then, oneday, the adult son called up and said, "Hi, Dad." The distance between them shrank to nothing over a period of days.
My old preaching professor, Will Willimon, has said that one of the most extraordinary things about Jesus is his call to change. Because his very call to change assumes that the things we think can never change -aren't so immovable.
You live through a moment when immovable things move, when the unchangable changes, and you don't smile with doubt when you read in the Bible about people walking through the sea or water coming out of a rock.