Weekly Sermon Illustration: The Fullness of Time
In our blog post every Monday we select a reading from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday, and pair it with a Frederick Buechner reading on the same topic.
On January 3, 2016 we will celebrate the Second Sunday after Christmas Day. Here is today's reading from the book of Ephesians:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
The following excerpt was originally published in Love Feast and later in The Book of Bebb.
The week after I got back from Princeton was the last one before vacation, and I spent the afternoon of the final day of classes helping straighten up the gym after the Christmas book fair. In the overheated world of Sutton High it is always mid-August and under the bright overhead lights of the gym in their wire cages it is always high noon so that during the hours I spent packing the unsold books back into cartons and lending a hand with the tables, I lost all track of what the weather was up to outside. It was only when I stepped out into the parking lot around five that I discovered that about four inches of snow had fallen, and it was still coming down hard.
The damp linen smell and coarse-woven silence of the snow. The fan-shapes of light from the gym windows and the sight of my car almost unrecognizable as it crouched there lonely and white. To teach school is to catch from the children you teach not only their colds but a little of their childhood too, and I stood there at the gym door with a panic in my stomach no less sweet and wild than Stephen Kulak's, say, at the thought that school was out and vacation had begun, at the unexpected sight of the snow. In the fullness of time, the Scriptural phrase goes, and for a moment or two it was as if, filled to bursting, time had split apart at last, and there at the heart of it was the mystery laid bare. It was time to go home, or the heart of time was home, and I had been there all along without knowing it just the way all that hot, bright afternoon of dismantling the book fair I had been part of a snowfall without knowing it.