…to run anything in this world…is like being lost in a forest of a million trees…and each tree is a thing to be done… A million trees. A million things. Until finally we have eyes for nothing else, and whatever we see turns into a thing.
So how am I to say it, gentlemen? When he came, I missed him.
— The InkeeperFrederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Birth”
I can’t begin to convey the magic of Frederick Buechner’s sermon “The Birth”. Sermon isn’t really the right word. It’s more like three interviews with people who witnessed the event: the Innkeeper, the Wise Men, and the Shepherds. The quote above is from the Innkeeper’s account, his witness, his confession – that’s what it is in the end – his confession. And it’s my confession, too; maybe it’s yours.
- Are we lost in the forest of our concerns, so lost we can’t see the Light of the World around and among us?
- He came to his own people and his own people…”missed” him. Do we, like the innkeeper, have no room, no mental or emotional space, for Jesus to be born? Are we missing him? Are we aware we are missing him?
- What can we do to not miss him? (Attention is the beginning of devotion.)
- List out some of the ‘million things’ in your life. Note down times in your life when those things caused you to miss something important. Write down what Jesus means to you and what you might do to give him more space in your life.
I highly recommend Buechner’s book and that you read this particular sermon. What I have shared here doesn’t begin to do it justice.
Grace and peace to you…
2 replies on “Frederick Buechner – A million things”
I find the practice of centering prayer to be very helpful in both clearing my head of distractions and having an intention focused on the spirit. And I have to keep doing it over and over and over . . .
I know what you mean about over and over and over – I often have to start the same prayer over several times before I can actually get through it, much less quiet my soul!