Posted by: Aaron McCarter | January 2, 2009

the neighboring table

Last night my wife and I spent a couple hours talking to and praying with a wonderful woman who’s just been crushed by tragedy.  On my way into Panera today (my office more often than not) I’m listening to talk radio and the topic: sex trafficking.  Then I purchase my bagel, which sits for about 30 minutes until my appetite returns.  I open up the book I’m working through entitled: “Evil and the Justice of God.”  It’s not shaping up to be a chipper morning.

But as I’m grinding through my book, I notice a group of about 6 people.  I notice them because they are loud.  Lot’s of laughter.  Ages ranging from about 3 to about 80.  Then more people stroll in and join the group.  Each met with a chorus of hellos and even more laughter.  Stories are being told.  Worn out jokes are being recycled, and something more than courteousy laughter follows.

Within a few minutes the group’s more like 20, maybe 25.  It’s a roar now.  They’re getting some angry glances shooting from underneath the furrowed brows of busy people who’d rather not be bothered…but more likely because they’d like to join in.  The looks aren’t noticed, of course.

What a wonderful group!  And their joy reminds me of the mercy and kindness of God.  It doesn’t mask or counteract the sludge I’m still grinding through…it just points out the beautiful mess in which we live.  The constant tension of a world which is in horrific disrepair, but is nonetheless saturated with the presence of a God who makes all things well.

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