Monday, January 7, 2013

so many distractions, so much shiny stuff all around

Sitting in Starbucks in Bismark. Came north to make a hospital visit, decided to spend the night. Couldn't sleep in because of the puppy --but still... a breather.

I hear there's a book store in this town!
Or, something like that....

Little family over in the corner of Starbucks, near the windows. Little girls jumping up and down and competing to hold their new little brother. Mom hovers as each one sits and practices holding the infant who cannot yet hold his head up. One little sister wishes to hold him so that he can see what she sees --and she whispers in to his hears, telling him things we cannot know. The other little sister then gets to hold him, and she wants him to face her, so she can look him in the eye and do word bubbles with him --little sounds that match the movement of her eyes, and they both squeal.

Back in to the center of a consumer culture from which we have absented ourselves --it's a little awesome to see all those things that flash and shine on the shelves, new mugs of old designs, new mugs of new designs, stainless steel mugs, coffee makers, storage containers, plastic thermal somethingoranothers.....

And the cars are so much cleaner here --no backroad dust cemented as a new paint layer on the car... people speaking of screen shots on their hand held devices sipping cups of something with whipped cream piled on top, stacks of binders and books next to the pony-tailed students....

What a different world this is. With such different goals and expectations. The "hard scrabble" here is of such a different order --not based in the mere survival side of things....

I said the other day that when I look around, all I see is Christ, everywhere, in all things --Christ in living flesh and blood, or Christ crucified.

Today --I see people sleep walking... neither alive nor dead.


And I suppose that is ol' judgmental me... but, still.... I feel I see ghosts, chasing shiny ghost things.

I suppose it takes one to know one... (?!?)

At prayer this morning (a portion of Psalm 103)

The LORD is full of compassion and mercy, *
slow to anger and of great kindness.
He will not always accuse us, *
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, *
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, *
so far has he removed our sins from us.

Yes... I need that this morning....
--and this (1 Samuel 2:1-8)

My heart exults in you, O God; *
my triumph song is lifted in you.
My mouth derides my enemies, *
for I rejoice in your salvation.
There is none holy like you, *
nor any rock to be compared to you, our God.
Do not heap up prideful words or speak in arrogance; *
Only God is knowing and weighs all actions.
The bows of the mighty are broken, *
but the weak are clothed in strength.
Those once full now labor for bread, *
those who hungered now are well fed.
The childless woman has borne sevenfold, *
while the mother of many is forlorn.
God destroys and brings to life, casts down and raises up; *
gives wealth or takes it away, humbles and dignifies.
God raises the poor from the dust; *
and lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with the rulers *
and inherit a place of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are God’s *
on which the whole earth is founded.

And I could expound and feed on the John reading this morning.... (John 2:1-11)

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.”

So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

See --the steward goes and scolds the bridegroom, the one getting married --The real point of this story is NOT that water turns to wine --the real story is that the steward does not recognize Jesus as the true bridegroom --the one who holds all things in being and is the lover and husband of our souls....

It was just the first of his signs... everything in John is about signs.... And the only ones who really need signs are those who are from out of town (I am feeling that pinch here in Bismark) or those who are lost.

But, here --with so many distractions, so much shiny stuff all around... who can see the signs?

We need the angels in the sky, coming to "BEHOLD" "LOOK" "MIRA" and even then, it's only those out in the wilderness, away from the city lights, who can see signs like that.

Off I go.

Husband: from hus "house" (see house (n.)) + bondi "householder, dweller, freeholder, peasant," from buandi, prp. of bua "to dwell" --- early 15c., from husband (n.) in an obsolete sense of "steward" (mid-15c.). Related: Husbanded; husbanding.

--the "steward".... Oh huh --now there's something to think about in this gospel reading --Jesus, not only the true bridegroom who provides the living wine, but, Jesus --the true steward....

There we are... so, as to all the rest of it --the ghosts flirting with all the shiny things, I do not have to worry..... Our sins have been thrown away as far as east is to west, and our lover and beloved, the one who takes care of the household awaits us.... and will steward all of it.

Thanks be to God.