You might say it’s been an interesting week on my block. As long as you had no particular place to go.
But if you did have people to see, or few tasks you wanted to cross off the list, well then you’d better have planned ahead – because on Wednesday, the “road replacement” crew rumbled down our street like an occupying army.
Granted, they gave us about a five-minute advance warning. And then they set to pulverizing the old pavement in front of our driveway. Next, they scooped out the chunks, creating an ominous void at the curb. And finally, they poured new concrete – surrounding it with a row of traffic diversion cones that rendered our garage all but useless as a place to park a car.
A day later, the pour had hardened enough that we were permitted to drive across it, but only through a gap half as wide as our driveway – and then into a lane barely wide enough to accommodate a single vehicle.
Which of course means that, even as you’re trying to thread that needle in reverse, you’re also spending more than the usual amount of time and effort assessing your chances of making it all the way to the end of the block…before encountering an oncoming UPS van.
Bottom line, I don’t think I’ll mind a bit when the orange-and-white cones are at long last removed and normal traffic patterns can resume. Just not big fan of an undersized gap, I guess. I don’t take well to feeling impeded. Does anyone?
And that, I suppose, is one reason why I found Jesus’ message in this Sunday’s gospel passage a little confounding – and perhaps even annoying. After all, when you hang with Jesus…and travel in his company on a regular basis…isn’t it reasonable to expect there to be some benefit?
But that’s not really the promise Jesus makes to the disciples who ask him for the assurance of a reward. He seems to offer a spiritual puzzle instead.
He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
And then, this:
…there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God…and you yourselves cast out.
It’s a puzzle, this promise of his, until you realize where Jesus is headed as he speaks these words. He’s on his way to Jerusalem. He’s making his way – resolutely – to the cross.
And in my heart of hearts, I know that can be a significant impediment indeed. I’m not sure I want to embrace this Way of his. This narrow Way.
I know – in fact – that I could never make it on my own.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.
Yes it’s a struggle.