Total Pageviews

Monday, 24 August 2015

Take my yoke...

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading the newly published Harper Lee book, "Go Set a Watchman", and since then I have been thinking a lot about the following passage:
“I mean it takes a certain kind of maturity to live in the South these days. You don't have it yet, but you have a shadow of the beginnings of it. You haven't the humbleness of mind-" (Uncle Jack Finch)
"I thought the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom." (Jean Louise Finch--Scout)
"It's the same thing. Humility.” (Uncle Jack Finch)
I think that Harper Lee is saying many things in her conversation between Uncle Jack and Scout, but the thing that struck me on a personal level was the idea of humility.
 Reading this quote was like waking up one morning and seeing something that I had only ever seen in the dark. Suddenly what I thought I knew took on a new shape. Since then the idea of humility as essential in our relationships with God and with others has dogged me, and I know that it is a quality that I need.
I have begun to see that humility is the beginning of wisdom because those who have it start from the premise that they are fallible. Humble people listen carefully because they realize that if they do they may learn something. They remember that every single person has great worth.
Why does Uncle Jack tell "Scout" that she lacks maturity and humbleness of mind? He observes Jean Louise's behaviour when she realizes that her father and her friend believe something abhorrent. Jean Louise confronts them belligerently, and then goes "home" to pack in order to run back to New York. Scout's idol has crashed (her idealized version of her father), and she is going to take her ball and bat and go home. Uncle Jack calls Jean Louise a bigot because "a bigot cannot accept opinions or beliefs other than his own". He tells Scout that now is the time she needs to stay, because "the time your friends need you is when they're wrong."
Humble people do not shout down others, nor they do not back down and run away when confronted with opposition. Humble people do not always concede to other's opinions. They calmly and patiently hold their ground.
I know that I have reacted like "Scout" often, I have refused to accept opinions and beliefs other than my own, and I would say that I am not alone in doing this. It is something I see happen in the church.   We get upset because something is not to our liking, we make a big noise about it, or we stew silently. We make the church our god when we expect her to meet all our expectations and needs, to feed us, entertain us, comfort us, and agree with us. When she fails, we leave and find another church thinking that we've solved the problem; however, we carry ourselves with us, and people are people no matter what church we attend, so eventually problems arise again.
I believe that humility is lacking in our culture. I see its lack in my life every time I run rough shod over someone who is voicing an opinion that I disagree with, or when I stomp away in anger. I see its lack in the church when we quarrel, gossip, and look down on others.

I need to grow up. I know that I am blind to my own sin, and yet see other's faults with 20/20 vision.

I need to acknowledge with David,
'You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
I need to invite the Lord to
Search me... and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (from Psalm 139)
I need to be like Mary, who sat at Jesus feet and listened to what he said,.
I need to do as Jesus instructed me to "take [his] yoke upon myself and learn from him, because he is gentle and humble of heart". Matthew 11:29
Taking Jesus yoke means that I am willing to learn to walk under his guidance, as he teaches me gentleness and humility of heart.

There are many lessons to learn; as long as I live, I hope to go on learning, and finding wisdom where ever the Lord leads me. 

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossian 3:12-14

Friday, 30 January 2015

Our Father's world

Today, I'm thinking about my responsibility to the earth--the air, the water, the trees, the grass, the birds, the fish, and land animals. In Genesis, God created the world, and then told Adam and Eve to rule over it saying: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Gen 1:28-31

I admit that sometimes I take this world for granted, and sometimes I am careless in my treatment of the earth, but if I am truly serious about my commitment to Christ, then I need to realize that God has given mankind a great responsibility to use what he's created with care.  We may think that because God used the word dominion, that we have full authority to do what we like with this world; however, in Mathew 20, Jesus tells his disciples: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

God's idea of ruling and human's idea of ruling are different. In God's kingdom, rulers are servants. I believe this is one reason that churches and governments called their leaders ministers in the first place. The Latin origin of the word minister is "one who serves" or "to perform a service", which is related to the Latin word minus meaning less. If we are to rule as God means us to rule, then we are to care for that which we rule.

In Sunday school this week, the children and I spoke about reducing, re-using, recycling, and composting. We sorted garbage together, and I realized that there is still much that doesn't fall into any of these categories. I bring reusable bags shopping, place items in the blue bin, scrape organic goods into the compost bucket, reuse plastic bags of various kinds, cut up old towels and t-shirts for rags, but I still find myself throwing away too much; consequently, I've begun thinking of ways I can re-use more things. So far, I don't have much, but one thing I decided to reuse are the resealable bags that frozen veggies come in, so I've begun washing them and putting them in the drain rack. If anyone has more ideas, please share them with me.

I also try to walk to and from work a couple of times a week; however, the weather has been putting me off lately. I was feeling justified in driving the other day because of the weather, but then I spoke to the young man who shelves books at our library, he'd just walked to work in the snow. This young man lives close to me, so no more excuses.

My small efforts, are just that--small, but what if we all did the small things?

My list of reusable items

Twist ties
Bread bag ties
Plastic containers
Frozen veggie bags
Produce bags

Please add to the list.