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Leaving a little room for God to love me

by davesandel on December 13th, 2021

Monday, December 13, 2021                                     (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Leaving a little room for God to love me

Two hours after our Sunday School Christmas potluck I remembered the simple joy of cold water, five swallows from my 32 ounce Camelbak bottle, just as refreshing as my nap.

I made cranberry fluff for our potluck. Six simple ingredients. And it felt good to do the work. I’ve been salving my soul with stuff, with iPhones and airpods and chocolate and plans for Christmas. But the salve does not penetrate, while cold water and cranberries refresh my body deep down into its core. Simple lesson in simplicity, the same one I mostly crave and occasionally take in and learn.

I see him, though not now. I behold him, though not near. A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel.

So begins the third week of Advent, and I ride along on its wings. Balaam is a good teacher. I watch his ambition change to humility and feel myself small and getting smaller, with less need to make an impression. Waiting for The Messiah to begin yesterday, it was easy to talk to our neighbors in the pews. Today I enjoyed listening to our tablemates at the potluck, and sharing a little of my own story. I watch Margaret be with those around us and am glad to be with her.

“Improving myself” doesn’t seem as important today. I feel more patient with the world, and with myself. Mom’s approval is something I need no longer seek (or push away). I trust that she is praying for me without expectations. God’s guidance comes to each of us through our own history, our own filters, and our own faith.

Good and upright is the Lord; he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

There are days when I have no words. They fly around, they tease me – catch me if you can -but I can’t. The harder I try, the harder I fall. There are Greek letters to name the brain waves involved, and I am riding the wrong ones.

I wonder if those are the days when patience, long-suffering, waiting, stillness … what Mark Buchanan calls the rest of God, are most available to me. I can get depressed and anxious if there are glaucomic floaters in my eyes, or I can appreciate the exceptional glistening of the lights in our darkened sanctuary. I can be frustrated at my tinnitus, which gets more noticeable every month, or I can follow the echoes of the Christmas songs and let them ring and ring.

When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and asked, “By what authority are you doing these things?”

Did they care? Did they really want to know? Jesus did not answer their question. I imagine sitting with them, wondering the same thing, wanting to know, asking Jesus again when we were alone. “By what authority do you do these things, Jesus?”

And he might say, because I really want to know, “By the authority of love, David. God loves you more than you can imagine. Don’t ever wonder about that again.”

(Numbers 24, Psalm 25, Psalm 85, Matthew 21)                   

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