Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God embodied: a lesson in love

"...God had to be embodied, or else people with bodies would never in a trillion years understand about love."
(Lauren F. Winner, "Girl Meets God")

We look for love in a million places, in a million ways, with a million failures. We not only fail in finding it for ourselves, but we fail to love because we are also trying to express love to others in those same failure-like ways that we sought it for ourselves.

Let us look at the nature of our Living God, embodied in Jesus, for some clues about how to love!

Allowing himself to be served (loved) by those the world taught his people to despise - a drink of water from the Samaritan woman for a thirsty Jewish man. (John 4: 1-30)

Meals, and probably some laughter, with "crooks"! (Luke 19: 1-10)

Washing the disciples' feet - He, the one they followed and looked up to, washing their dirty feet? Never! "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what Im doing." We must allow ourselves to be served (loved). (John 13: 1-17)

We want to understand about love! Teach us, Jesus...

Monday, June 21, 2010

the dishes, the compost, and the clothesline

current music: don chaffer, Up Before the Sun, from the album "What You Don't Know"

What might they have in common, you wonder? They're teaching me lessons. I've learned much these days from the dishes, the compost, and the clotheslines. Some lessons are similar; some very different. All are very important.

Timeliness. The dishes pile up; the compost begins to stink; the clothes need a certain length of time on the clothesline, or they'll be damp and then you have to hang them up all around the house to finish drying. These things usually need to be done promptly.

Routine. We scoff at routine, most of us free-spirited, relational types. We value spontaneity and freedom. But let me tell you, routine can be good for the soul, can be the path of holiness. With the snap of a finger, spontaneity and freedom turns into selfishness, and there you have it: the dishes are piled up and stink so much that you can't tell if the compost or the sink smells worse. And you forget to put your clothes out in the morning, so you do it when you rush home at 5pm, and they don't have enough time to dry, and then you're backed up and start it all over the next day.

How to be kind to my husband. Hanging clothes on the clothesline takes time. And the other night I brought them in, discovered they were still damp, and immediately got in a crabby mood. This is when I treated Jeff unkindly, in fact, I was downright mean. I'm learning that too easily am I swayed away from kindness.

Slowness. Washing the dishes causes me to slow down. I have to take some time to look out the window, notice the neighbors house, listen to the sound of the water, and I have to make sure the dried cheese comes off the plate. No one wants to come behind me and eat my dried cheese. So, I have to slow down and wash the dishes.

Dang, there are a lot of lessons to be learned here! I can think of 3, 4, 5, more... Oh, 6! Many of these lessons have to do with simplicity, and what is simple is not always easy. What is easy isn't always good or righteous. And so we seek simplicity, in action, in speech, in spirit.

What lessons have you learned from simplicities of your life?

Finally, in all these lessons, praise be to the One who isn't in a hurry, who loves us wholly, beautifully, and without fear of time slipping away, for He does not live in the time and space as we do.... praise be to God!