Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The First Thing

I just got done listening to Greg Boyd preaching on worship (I listen while I dig holes in the road with a pick). He taught and then they had a prolonged worship with communion tables set up. He made the invite to everyone and followed by saying they had open communion, "Jesus never did background checks and neither do we". So when I got back to the office I talked about this with Dave and we joked about the background checks and such and got to talking about the woman at the well. We like to really look at each moment as scripture tells the story. The very first thing that Jesus did, knowing her background and everything, was to ascribe worth to her by asking her for a drink. No Rabbi would have dared speak to the woman much less let her touch a vessel from which he would drink.

What kind of world would it be if the first thing we did when we met someone is to ascribe worth to them? Not in a 'hey I want to sell you a set of tires' or 'hey nice dress' kind of way but to find a way to ascribe worth to someone that would speak to their very humanity.

It'd be like a mustard seed, or like yeast, or like what God put between the water below and the water above on the 3rd day.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Faith Like a Child

I believe, help me in my unbelief...

Five-year-old Michael was in the park with his dad. "Daddy why is all that money in that pond?" Daddy explained as he gave Michael a quarter, "you make a wish and throw your coin in the pond and don't tell anyone what you wished for and it might come true." So Michael hesitated for a moment, gave the quarter a good toss into the water and they went about their walk. A week or so later, next to a fountain, Michael asked for a coin to throw in. Reminded of the earlier wish, Daddy asked Michael if his wish had come true. Michael pushed up his sleeves, bent his wrists and mimicked Spiderman's web shooting and nothing happened. He dropped his arms pulled down his sleeves and simply answered "Nope", grabbed the coin that Daddy had produced from his pocket and through it in the fountain.


This is for my friends Janet Clark, Leslie, MJ Soldano, and Sherrie Miller. They taught me not to underestimate bread.

"Truly, truly, I must say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."


How often do we casually eat or use the gifts that are given us without plying the depths of the sincerity behind the giver?

Often in this world we underestimate the sacrifice that went into every good gift. We eat the freshly made loaf and enjoy it with honey or meat or just butter melting. We thank the person that made it because it was good, rich, and lovely. What we often miss is the person in the bread. The person that keeps enough flour in their stores so they can make the bread. The person that inventories their pantry and makes sure they never run out of yeast or salt or any of the other ingredients that goes into bread. Some make a bread special, requiring additions at a certain time so they take the time out of their busy schedule to watch..., to watch bread. And when the bread is done, there is the delivery or the packaging or the preparation (melt more butter on the crust) so the bread is at its finest - or maybe they take the trouble to give you a yell and ask you to come and their bread - something the little red hen wouldn't have dreamed of doing since you didn't go through all the preparation with her to produce the bread. That would be the world's way of giving you bread, invite you to grow the darn wheat, carry it to the mill, carry the flour back, mix and knead the dough, bake the bread and then and only then do you deserve a share in the bread....


When you eat the next slice of bread that someone baked for you KNOW that in that bread is the link to all that is holy. That person made and gave you that bread for one reason that confounds the wisest of souls. Believe in that person that chose LOVE in the loaf "For on him (her) God the Father has set his seal."

Friday, September 05, 2008

In the Middle of Up and Down

I was lying between my twin boys a couple of nights ago and we were in one of our great theological discussions of where we find God. We had named so many places and the lateness of the day was sweeping us dreamily into that place between wakefulness and slumber when Bubba drowsily said "Dad, I know where heaven is, I can see it". "Really? What's it look like Bub?", I mumbled back to him, now barely awake. Slowly and deliberately he spoke, "It looks like little purple, red, and shiny dusty things just beneath the ceiling. Its all moving around and must be angels". I opened my eyes and in the darkness, complete darkness, I saw what he saw (if you look into darkness with your mind's eye you'll see it too) and gazed in wonder at the unseen molecules and particles moving before us - empty space to us most of the time but this time teaming with life seen through the eyes of someone looking, really looking. I continued to stare in wonder as the room grew full with my own heartbeat and the breath of my sons as their breathing grew deeper and more relaxed. My heart filled with the beauty of the Father's image to meet the child where he needed him to be, like a blanket watching over him as he sleeps, like the Father hovering over creation as he built the foundations of the earth, like the potter leaning over the clay.

It must have been a little like that when Andrew went to his brother Simon and said he found the Messiah, or when Phillip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus for him to see, or when John the Baptist first saw Jesus approaching and said, "Behold the Lamb of God". They saw something there, maybe because they were looking?