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Archive for October, 2011

Rest

It is a very strange Sunday.

Outside, branches adorned with autumn leaves are now weighed down with an unseasonal snowfall, which brought this area to a standstill yesterday. And today.

It’s beautiful out, in a broken-branches kind of way. And when the power was out for much of yesterday, our options narrowed considerably.

No computers. No TV. No lights. Just us and the fireplace. At rest – because the options were few.

We played games by oil lamp, laughed our heads off, ignored all the now-silent screens – a Sabbath of disconnection.

Today, church is cancelled, the cars will stay idle, the power is back – but we’re just here. Just us. At rest. Sandy baking in the kitchen. The dog playing in the snow. Coffee brewing.

And me with mixed feelings about the power. I can sit in front of my screen now and write this, or interact with friends on Facebook. But that unplanned screen-Sabbath yesterday – something about that really felt right.

I have to learn again how to rest. From a lot of things.

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Love-Forward

I remember, years ago, when Chrysler was pushing their new line of cars designed with what they called a “cab-forward” design.

It was an interesting design and marketing approach, but hardly earth-shattering. Love-forward, however, is very radical.

In Jesus’ parable often called The Prodigal Son, a restless and libertine-ish son decides to take his inheritance early, and go off and squander it. In doing so, he rejected his father’s kind intentions and brought shame to the family name. Yet, when he returned, filthy and penniless, his father rushed to him, brushing aside his attempt at penance, and extravagantly poured out love on him, publicly restoring him to favor.

There could have been wrath-forward, but there was love-forward.

The parable, of course, is meant to teach us about God. And when you make a list of God’s many attributes, all of which exist and are expressed in harmonious proportion, the idea that justice or vengeance might well be at the forefront when we squander our time and gifts in a life of God-rejecting sin is very easy to imagine.

But there it is – compassion. Mercy. Love-forward. Not only for the dissolute younger son, fresh from the filth of self-indulgent wastefulness, but also for the self-righteous older brother, who resented the love shown to his comparatively unworthy sibling.

God’s love does not negate or oppose his holiness and righteousness. But we are shown what He extends at the forefront when we return to Him, empty-handed and (finally) honest about our wayward hearts. Even our proud and self-righteous hearts.

I, for one, am glad to find love-forward…

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