Years ago I played on a town softball team made up mostly of young men who were town employees. More blue collar workers than the white collar folks who make up the congregation where I am the pastor. Following each game the team would go to the local bar for a beer or two either to celebrate our victory or to lick our wounds. When possible I went with them. On more than one occasion, sitting around that table in the bar, one of my teammates who probably would never walk in the doors of a church or into my office, would lean over and ask me a question or ask if I would pray for a family member who was sick or struggling. 30 seconds and then we were back to the conversation that had continued around the table.
Something of the same thing happened this afternoon.
Today was our annual Senior Citizen Christmas luncheon.
Sixty of us gathered around tables to laugh and to talk and to remember and to share a wonderful meal. Each year, as I wander around the room someone pulls me aside to ask a question or to share a concern or to ask for a prayer.
All of that is pretty normal, right?
After all, I am a pastor and that is what pastors do.
But, as I thought about it later I wonder if something more is not happening in moments like that. At times like that, does God come close? Not because I am a pastor or have some special contact with or relationship to God, but because for an instant two human beings turn towards each other and towards that which is most important in that moment. Care. Concern. Hope. Sorrow. Dreams.
Incarnation, I think, all over again.
When and how does that happen in your life?