Archive for February 2012

The Boss and A Widow’s Might   Leave a comment

“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury.” (Mark 12:43)

The poor widow drops a few copper coins into the treasury donation box, already filled with the gaudy gifts of the rich.  Jesus watches her, and calls the disciples together to show them what he sees:  a woman who gave all she owned.  In his eyes, her giving far exceeded the gifts of the wealthy, who gave much more money, but far less of themselves.

This leads me to think, perhaps surprisingly, of Bruce Springsteen.  The Boss.

Diehard Bruce Springsteen fans would not count me among their ranks.  I don’t really know the lyrics to his songs, haven’t been to more than a couple of his concerts.   But I do love and respect the way he performs and makes music.   If you want to see the most stirring tribute of a performer that you’ll ever see, watch Jon Stewart here hilariously and movingly pay homage.

The best line (well, second best, after referring to the Boss as the progeny of a love-relationship between Bob Dylan and James Brown) is when Stewart describes how Springsteen, in everything he does, “empties the tank, every time.  He empties the tank for his family, for his art, for his audience, and for his country.  And we who are on the receiving end of this beautiful gift are rejuvenated, if not redeemed.”

I don’t worship Bruce.  Rejuvenated as I may be by his music, I believe that only one Redeemer lives.

But I also am challenged, inspired and invited by people like the Boss to give like the poor widow gave, emptying the tank, every time.  It seems that Jesus takes notice.

Posted February 27, 2012 by seawalking in Uncategorized

Love Covers All Offenses (Proverbs 10:12)   1 comment

For those whose goodness is harrassed by perfectionism;

For those who have lost, but don’t know what they’re missing;

For those who have been wronged, or whose way must be righted;

For those who sought meaning in trivial pursuits;

For those needing what they don’t have, because they have what they don’t need.

There is a love that covers all offenses, that makes all things new;

For those who freely give what they have abundantly received.

Posted February 16, 2012 by seawalking in Uncategorized

Fortune-ate   Leave a comment

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

If we’re not careful, we can approach isolated passages of Scripture as we would fortune cookies. We eat them because they’re sweet, but not so sweet to leave us wanting more.  Fully aware that the little slips of paper cannot provide answers to our deepest questions, we still hold out hope that they will speak to the very longings of our hearts.  However, most of the messages are so vague or pointless that our only recourse is to find a way to laugh at them (often by appending “in bed” to the message, a surefire way to induce naughty giggles).

More deeply, we often seek from God, from faith or religion, that which we seek from a fortune cookie.  We want something sweet, but not so sweet that we’re invested into consuming more.   We want to crack open our destiny, to find easy answers within the sugary smooth waver that seems custom-wrapped for each of us.   And when we don’t find those answers, we’re inclined to make light of God, to find ways to laugh and snicker about faith and religion.   Perhaps there are so many jokes about priests, rabbis and monks walking into bars because so many people have walked into religious sanctuaries and have not found what they were looking for.

Today’s quote (above) actually sounds a bit like a fortune cookie.  It’s short and sweet.  It promises a direction to take and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  But so much more than a fortune is being spoken of here in the opening verses of Psalm 37.  There is a call  for patience, to wait upon the God who can be trusted, whose promises do not wither like the grass, but will come as surely as the noonday.

The Psalmist calls for delight, not in sweet and easy answers to the questions posed by a broken and fearful world, but in the Lord.   There, we find our laughter emerging not from cynicism or disappointment, but from the joy found in patience and trust.

That’s a far different fortune than the one we often seek.

Posted February 11, 2012 by seawalking in Uncategorized

God’s Handy Work   Leave a comment

And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship. (Exodus 35:31)

I dedicate this post to all of the Bezalels of the world.

“The who,” you ask?

The Bezalels.   You see, Bezalel was endowed by God with the wisdom and skills necessary to be a great craftsman, who could build with both beauty and function in mind.  God assigned Bezalel the critical task of constructing Israel’s mobile sanctuary, so that where the Israelites went, their God would be with them.

I’m in jealous awe of all Bezalels, like the gentlemen on my roof right now expertly (one hopes)  replacing leaky skylights, the fix-it aficionados who don’t need to call a plumber to repair a leaky sink, the men and women who can fashion highways and skyskrapers, remodel bathrooms and or build backyard decks.  I’m in awe of gardeners and auto mechanics, of cooks and carpenters, people whose spirituality emerges by the work of their hands, not the words of their mouths or the thoughts in their heads.   They matter, deeply, because they apply precision and discipline to the world of matter.

Why “blue collar” can have a negative connotation is beyond me, because those skills are so beyond me, I cannot help but appreciate those who have them.  And give praise to the Master Builder, from whom their wisdom comes.

Posted February 6, 2012 by seawalking in Uncategorized

Nooks and Crannies   Leave a comment

You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, opaz and emerald; and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper.  (Exodus 28:17-20)

Details matter.

That’s what I take from this chapter of Scripture filled with a detailed, yawn-inducing barrage of instructions, given by God, to those who would make clothes for the Israelite priests.  The Lord really gets into the minutia — the colors of the fabric, the kinds of stones and how they are to be placed, the bindings and bands, all specified.

It’s not exactly compelling reading.

But God sought a specific arrangement of colors and stones to weave meaning and  purpose into those clothes.  All those details, working together, reminded the Israelites who they were, and whom they were called to worship.

This is a reminder to those of us who would dismiss the details of this life to be trivial and unworthy of attention, because there are more “spiritual” matters to be considered.   Attending to the nooks and crannies of this life may in fact be the most spiritual thing we can do.

Details, when they serve as the object of our focus and not our obsession, can lead us into the very realm of God, the weaver of mountains and molecules alike.

 

 

Posted February 1, 2012 by seawalking in Uncategorized