First Sunday of the new month. Off to join with other believers and to worship the Lord together.
This has been a hard week, and a hard last few weeks as well. Not "just" for me and mine, but for many others as well. I know of those who are struggling with horrid health issues, one was scheduled for major surgery but a sudden case of blood clots in lungs and legs brought those plans to a screeching halt. Hard. I know of others who have lost their jobs in recent economic hits in the last few weeks, and others whose expected improvements were hit by the "splash" effects of some of that. I know of some struggling to recover from recent major surgeries. One experiencing a difficult pregnancy.
Yet the Lord has brought us this far, so I don't think He'll casually throw us aside.
My mind sometimes (often, yells Wife) goes into weird channels.
A few months ago, we took in a "rescue" kitten. Her mom and litter mates had been run over and killed. There is a house near us that suffered a major fire 18 months ago now. STILL standing, STILL vacant, STILL unrepaired. It's become a haven for feral cats, and probably raccoons and opossums as well, and had probably been their haven as well. She was tiny and half frozen and about starved. She ate like she hadn't eaten in days, and probably hadn't.
Fast forward about 10 weeks or so. She's not starved, she's nowhere near tiny, probably largely a Maine Coon breed. But to this day, the presence of food has her in a frenzy, even though I feed them every morning and leave a bowl of dry food (and a good brand too) out every night. Yet she dances and cries as I'm putting the food on a foam plate in the early morning, trying to climb up either the counter door or MY leg! It's as if she's been what the psych people call "imprinted" to not expect that the food will always be there.
That led my mind into a few disparate directions.
- I'm infamous for saying that current women's clothing fashions seem to be designed for either a 12-year-old boy (and knowing the sexual preferences of many designers, that seems possible) or for a semi starved 13 year old girl. The culture seems to prefer those who are so confident of a regular food supply, that they can be somewhat anorexic yet get a refill whenever they want. Most of human history does not go along with that. The Biblical prayer to "give us this day our daily bread" was in part out of knowledge that that crust of bread that day was quite possibly the entire food for the day, and even that was not assured. Hence the plea to the Lord. And not "just" then. My Dutch and German and Swiss ancestors wanted their daughters to be a bit plump: it demonstrated to all that they were healthy and that the family was well off enough for them to eat regularly. So they didn't HAVE to worry about being fed. Might be why the sin of "gluttony" wasn't always condemned from the pulpit.
- But also this: are we that desperate for the Lord, for His word, His presence, His feeding of our souls as that little cat is? Are we always seeking more and more and more of Him? Or are we acting as if we were already full enough? Do we earnestly desire Him like a deer panting for water, or a hungry child, or kitten, needing something solid? The thought worries me. It should.
- And what does that food, the spiritual type, accomplish? I can see what the cat food has done for that kitten, and what it has done for some of the other ones we've had or still do. They've grown. Have we grown? Have we been changed? Does it show? Does it make a difference?
This will probably be one of "those" weeks. We shall see.
Our passage in the Old Testament is chapters 37 and 38 of the Exodus. Having received detailed instructions, the Tabernacle and the Ark are being constructed by a person uniquely gifted to carry it out. Wonder how that coincidence happened? And note the detail. A reason for every detail, even though I don't presume to understand all of it.
The New Testament reading is verses 23-39 from chapter 23 in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus is pouring it on in these last few days before the Crucifixion was coming. His time on earth in the body would soon draw to a close. He wasn't being what our modern church types would call "tolerant" or "welcoming", was He?