Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Terms of the Contract

There is something incredible about Advent. Advent is the liturgical season that accompanies my favorite time of the year -- a time when we sing some of my favorite hymns, decorate the sanctuary in wonderful ways, and reach out to the community. Advent is also a time when the scriptures convict me -- reminding me that Christ is coming again. This arrival is what we are waiting for, and we are to wait with joyful expectation.

We are learning a lot about what it means to wait at Mount Vernon Place. It's true that we don't spend all of our time talking about what it means to wait for the return of the Christ child. We do, however, talk a lot about waiting for two of our buildings to be demolished while another one is built. We talk about waiting for our sanctuary to be renovated. We talk about waiting for a trailer to arrive, a signal that the asbestos abatement has commenced. And, we are learning a lot as we wait -- not about patience, exactly, but about real estate development, legal contracts, and companies that believe in going above and beyond the call to duty.

Last year, the congregation reluctantly but hopefully voted to sell a portion of its property. We entered into a contract with a local company -- the kind of company where your number one contact at the company is part of the original family -- the kind of company that sends you fruit baskets for Christmas and tulips on Easter -- the kind of company that works hard to understand its constituency and do whatever it can to ensure that the constituency achieves great success with its development -- the kind of company that knows what the legal document says but is willing to go above and beyond the terms of the contract in order to assist the client.

We have a variety of contracts in our life. We have work contracts. We have construction contracts. We have contracts on our copying machines, elevators and furnaces. There are contracts everywhere. A contract lays out what one party can expect from the other party. And it is true that it is often rare to find one party willing to exceed the terms of the contract.

During this season of waiting, we are waiting for one who constantly exceeded the terms of the contract. This one came so that we might have life -- no ordinary life -- but life abundant. This one came to bring forth justice and righteousness -- not just for a few people but for all people. This one came for the forgiveness of our sins -- not only the sins of our past but the sins of our future, too. This one constantly exceeded the terms of the contract in every way possible. Thanks be to God!

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