Rev. Leigh Spruill of St. George’s Episcopal Church-Nashville shared a chapter from his ministry when he was at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he met with an older couple who had come to him seeking pastoral counseling for a broken marriage. As he listened, he realized their marriage was in grave trouble. He asked them, “Can you recall the original incident when your marriage got off-track?” There was a deafening silence for many minutes. Finally an event was revealed that had occurred a decade before, between engagement and marriage, but it still caused considerable emotion in the re-telling.
I thought this was going to be a sermon on forgiveness, and Rev. Spruill did say that forgiveness is an important part of holy relationships. But then he said, “It is amazing how a little crack becomes a ditch. The ditch then becomes a trench and eventually the trench becomes a canyon. This is how we go awry. Few of us go for pastoral counseling to reveal that we’ve just murdered someone; instead the canyon in our life starts as a really small, tiny crack that is allowed to grow over time until eventually it feels like an insurmountable chasm.”
In Mark’s Gospel we see John the Baptist, an eccentric and somewhat weird individual with the way he dressed and his nutritional habits. Maybe this is what we need, to have someone or something startle us to look at the cracks in our life.
Rev. Spruill then challenged us with two questions:
1. Can we identify the cracks in our life?
2. Are we willing to call upon the Lord to close those cracks instead of letting them become canyons?
Let’s start here:
1. Where am I nursing a grudge?
2. If married, are there cracks in our relationship that are causing difficulties with intimacy?
3. Am I neglecting my prayer life?
4. Is there something in my business that is un-Christ-like?
In our relationships, where are the cracks?
Rev. Leigh Spruill: “You don’t have to live like this any longer. On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, we know that one more powerful is coming.”
“Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low, the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all people shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:4-5
<Excerpts from a sermon by The Rev. Leigh Spruill at The TABLE, December 4, 2011>