Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Breaking the Mold

Isaiah 51:1-3, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing” (NIV).

If you’re going to “blog without ceasing,” there are going to be days like this one—days when you wake up really late after setting an alarm for 4:30am and proceeding to not sleep, because fireworks are beautiful but pipe bombs are not, and both have invaded your life and space. 

OK… realistically… this is about me, because most people probably didn’t have that experience last night… But just about everyone knows what it is to have a day during which every ball is a curveball, and you can’t seem to hit a single one.

So we return to origins again.  It’s actually a fairly good coping mechanism.  When nothing makes sense, it’s most comforting to dwell on the things you know are true.  There is no need to make decisions, create new theories, flesh out philosophies, or even think deeply about really basic stuff.  And, sometimes, I think it’s OK to give ourselves a break like that… for a few minutes anyway…

Who is the rock from which I was cut?

Even though I often feel as if I broke the mold; I don’t have to think about the answer. 

Even though (just today) I feel as if I have nothing to offer to anyone; tomorrow will be better… more productive… different…

I was just telling someone the other day that theology has pretty much ruined worship music for me, almost in its entirety.  For someone who loves to sing, this has been a serious disappointment (which has also thrust me into an era of life in which I really love non decidedly ‘Christian’ music again, because loud, angry stuff is fun to sing along with… especially while driving… but this is probably a rabbit trail…) At any rate, as I read the daily office and subsequently tried to write something moderately coherent to post, an old hymn came to mind:

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All could never sin erase,
Thou must save, and save by grace.

Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace:
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

Now, realistically, there are some things I could tear apart in this, if I’m honest—it’s the mold breaking.  All the clinging and hiding and nakedness… but maybe you could extend just a little bit of grace to me, today.  And if not, maybe I could extend it to myself.  Because there are probably appropriate moments during which to take cover…


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