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I’m sorry … I love you

by davesandel on February 20th, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021 (today’s lectionary)

I’m sorry … I love you 

Late at night, we slept soundly and warm for the fifth night running at Andi and Aki’s house. Our apartment is heated again now, but we have no water. We drove back and forth a couple of times, moved a few things around, filled a bucket or two with snow to melt and use in the toilet, and left again. At Whole Foods the line of customers was much shorter than at the bigger grocery stores, and we got two expensive half gallons of milk, some awesome fruit juice, a couple loaves of bread and a gluten free chocolate brownie mix.

One of the Texas senators spent part of his winter “vacation” in Cancun and got raked over the cold ice for it. Everyone from the governor down looks for someone else to blame. No one is fasting the way God wants us to. Isaiah is turning over in his grave.

If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech, and if you give bread to the hungry and comfort the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness. Then the Lord will guide you always and renew your strength. 

A different kind of Texas politician who lives with her mother lost a ceiling to broken water pipes and will have to relocate for months. “Let’s get to work,” she tweeted. And there are heroes. There are always heroes.

The ancient ruins will be rebuilt for your sake. “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you. “Restorer of ruined households.” It is always possible to use my time helping someone instead of blaming someone.

The disaster stories flood us like apocalyptic rain, but Miles teaches me more than anyone. This morning he opened the door when I was in the bathroom, and his mom thought he should apologize. It was obvious he disagreed. James Joyce’s young man Stephen Dedalus, about Miles’ age, remembered a frightening nursery rhyme, “Apologize! Apologize! The eagles will come and pull out your eyes! Pull out his eyes! Apologize!” Miles might have been thinking about that too, if he could read.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for to you I lift up my soul. You are good and forgiving, and abounding in kindness when we call on you. Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer. Attend the sound of my pleading.

Anyway, Miles resisted, looking small and very vulnerable. Then he opened his mouth, “I love …” He looked up at his Mamo and giggled … “I started to tell grandpa I love you,” he said. Andi grabbed that of course. “Sure, Miles, you can say, ‘I’m sorry. I love you.’” And that’s just what he did. So now I too have a much nicer way to apologize in the future.

Jesus said to Levi the tax collector, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, Levi followed him. Later Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees. “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

And aren’t we all sinners? Pull out his eyes! Apologize. But Jesus is the Great Physician, not a screaming eagle howling from the sky, rushing with talons bared toward my face. No, he carries me tenderly on his special stretcher to his palace of nowhere, his hospital for sinners, and sits beside me till I fall asleep, holding my hand.

If you call the sabbath a delight, if you honor it by not following your own ways or seeking your own interests, then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth.

(Isaiah 58, Psalm 86, Ezekiel 33, Luke 5)

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