Gospel, Interrupted

parent interruptions at church

How I heard Palm Sunday:

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles.

Mama, I need Polar Bear. Read Polar Bear. Read. Please.

I tell you, Peter. Before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear? I hear a lion roaring in my ear.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still not my will but yours be done.

Big Trucks and Diggers! I need Big Trucks and Diggers!

They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.”

The wheel loader scoops and lifts and loadsoops, no, don’t pull the pages too hard or the dump truck part will break.

But they continued their shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Can you use your quiet voice in church? Shhh…no. Quiet. We use quiet voices while we’re listening.

Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

Mama, do they have donuts today? Should we go check to see if there are donuts?

Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

Shhh. Use your QUIET VOICE IN CHURCH. If you cannot use your quiet voice, you are going to have to leave agaok, that’s it. You’re leaving. Here, take him.

And when he had said this, he breathed his last.

Mama, home. Let’s go home. I’m hungry. I’m tired. Home.

. . .

A mother’s distraction? Maybe.

But aren’t all our hearings of the Gospel interrupted?

We pick up the book after making the coffee and before loading the dishwasher. We squeeze in church between breakfast and a birthday party. We listen to a sermon while plotting our to-do list and planning our errands.

We are always humans trying to hear the divine, listening with half an ear amidst all the chatter and clutter. We are never gods ourselves, with undisturbed attention, uninterrupted time, undistracted minds. We are creatures of distraction, people of interruption.

But might this be precisely the point?

Incarnation was interruption: God breaking into our world, becoming human. Resurrection was a wrench-in-the-works of reality, too: death becoming life, transformed and brand-new.

The Gospel was always meant to interrupt us. To interrupt injustice with truth. To interrupt guilt with forgiveness. To interrupt violence with peace. To interrupt ambition with humility. To interrupt selfishness with love.

No wonder it still interrupts today. Even this holiest of weeks is still full of work deadlines and school drop-offs and vacuuming and vet visits.

And the little ones can’t sit silent for the sacred mystery of holy days. They still fidget and squirm, whine and yawn. (So do adults sometimes, if we’re honest.)

Proof of all the human he came to save.

Posted in ,


  1. Lauren L. on 26 March 2013 at 10:11 am

    This plays with something I’ve been kicking about for the past few weeks: the unexpectedness of the ways in which God works. We think it is or should be one way, but then the reality comes out of the blue. It’s not the reality we would choose, but it’s the reality God presents us with, the gift we are given the opportunity to accept.

    My inclination is to avoid the unexpected, to be regimented, orderly, organized. Randomness tends to knock me off my feet, at least it has in recent years. But as I contemplate the unexpected and the grace that it can bring, I’ve realized that perhaps God calls us to open ourselves to surprise–good and bad. Talk about trust!

  2. JHite on 25 March 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I live what you you are talking about here. As a father of 9 kids I completely get it. For the last 15 years my wife and I have tired all sorts of things to keep the kids quiet enough to make it through Mass and hear at least most of the Gospel message.

    Life really is about the Gospel interrupted. No matter how hard you try there just is no way that you can fully concentrate in it in your daily life. I like to say that our life is controlled chaos, and in between the chaos we try to live out the Gospel.

    Thanks for the great post.

  3. Molly (@MollyMakesDo) on 25 March 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Exactly why I’m always surprised by what makes it through the noise on those days – there was one part of the passion on Sat. vigil that really struck me and I’ve been carrying it around the last few days. Perhaps if I hadn’t been silenting the train noises I might not have really noticed it!

  4. Becky Castle Miller on 25 March 2013 at 11:19 am

    Haha, that was me trying to read to my kids last night from their children’s Bible. I was trying to cover Palm Sunday through the resurrection to put Palm Sunday in context, and the six-year-old was listening but the four-year-old was bouncing off the walls. And the fish tank.

  5. Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde on 25 March 2013 at 10:18 am

    “The Gospel was always meant to interrupt us. To interrupt injustice with truth. To interrupt guilt with forgiveness. To interrupt violence with peace. To interrupt ambition with humility. To interrupt selfishness with love.”

  6. Michelle on 25 March 2013 at 10:11 am

    So very true. That whole pray without ceasing thing? Yeah…interrupted prayer is still prayer…and at my house, that is about the only kind of prayer we get.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.