Saturday, April 11, 2009

So many books. So little time to read.

Today I perched myself on a chair in the livingroom to eat my sandwich and suddenly realized that I was doing so simply because the kitchen and diningroom tables were too covered with books and papers to make a comfortable space for lunch.

I'd like to believe that it is just a manifestation of my literary and academic bent. But I think it is more likely a commentary on my housekeeping skills.

Time for some spring tidying up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

While preparing a Primary Easter Sunday lesson

The request of the mother of Zebedee's sons, Jerome Nadal, S.J., 1507-1580
And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again."
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children
with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, "What wilt thou?" She sayeth unto him, "Grant that these two sons may sit, the one on they right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."

It struck me as I read this; here Jesus has outlined the horrendous things he will go through for us and the incomprehensibly wonderful gift of resurrection that he will provide for us and the first thing after that is a request by an anxious mother about his future approbation and recognition of her sons. Is it because I saw myself in her that this verse stopped me in my tracks?

How often do I blithely skim over the overwhelming gifts of resurrection, justification, sanctification, and forgiveness that Jesus offers me, or how hugely different eternity for me is because of that, and instead just focus on whether I or my loved ones are being good or being recognized as good by him. How short-sighted I can be.

It's not about me. It's about HIM. When I stop to think about what he did and how that changes all that's possible or what my future would be without what he did, I am appalled at my self-focus and the insufficiency of my gratitude and awe.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Trainers, back in February

I like looking at the expressions on their faces as they contemplate what's next.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Agency, Truth and Love at Christmas

I remember when I was 4  years old asking my father if Santa was real.  “Santa is people who love you,” he said with a smile.  
 “Noooooo!  He’s the guy who brings you presents on Christmas!” my little brother and I exclaimed, and ran to mom for reinforcements.
 Mom asked what dad had said and, when we explained, she said she thought he was right.  Appalled, we raced back to our dad and tried for the next 10 minutes to bully him into admitting we were right.  He simply smiled and pleasantly stuck to his story as he would for the next 35 years as he raised children.  We gave up on him.  And a few days later, under the tree, sure enough, there were presents from Santa.
 Every Christmas to this day we have received presents from Santa.  What I realized later is that my dad had given us the gift of choosing when we would transition from delightful engagement in the Santa story to the even sweeter story of being given gifts by those who love us.  My siblings and I could indulge in Santa imaginings for as long as we liked (which we continued to do for years)  and could choose to transition out of that at our own pace in our own time.
 My father was always big on allowing his children to choose and also big on letting them know they were loved.  I didn’t realize until years later how deftly he had incorporated both of these things into his Santa story.  And it took me awhile to see how he had helped our eventual transition not be one of belief to unbelief, but rather to one of belief in something good to belief in something familiar and even better.