This is part of today. Messy dining room table, tshirt store bag of books to give away or use today at the DivorceCare meeting, a lukewarm cup of coffee, my bible, my journal, a couple of devotionals, and a cup full of pens, along with mail that may be relevant to taxes, etc. Maybe I should just shorten the last to mail that may be relevant … to life, or to today. And, the bread, and the cup make it the Lord’s table. And at the heart of the Lord’s table, is His call to remember Him, and in remembering Him, remembering that this is a call and a welcome into the covenant that He made with The Father.
I stopped to take a picture because this seems to be how my life is at present. A lot of stuff, plus one thing. As I write those words, I think of the common complaint of women that guys are only interested in one thing. And, I really long to think of Jesus as much as I thought of sex, especially as a young man. But really, Jesus takes this on His palette and paints my life.
Ps 139:16 says
“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.” (NLT)
I believe that His book is illustrated, for the sake of His children like me. And He uses all of the things here to paint my picture of today.
But, what brought me here. It was a whisper, as I awoke today, “Spend time with me.” So I skipped church, made brunch, and sat down with bible and journal. He reminded me of coming to His table, so I did.
He also seemed to speak to me about getting an accurate picture, so I did that too.
What is on my heart today was a mixture of things. There seem to be a lot of times, recently, where I am someplace, but I don’t know how I got there. The mixture involves one of the books that I am reading for a book club (America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges), as well as, a book/set of teachings that impacted me last year. God wants me to hear His voice, really. And He wants to hear mine! (the book is “4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice”, by Mark Virkler) And, there is the realization that I don’t want to hear God’s voice because I think that it will be critical and shaming. God seems to have lead me, though I can’t remember how, to the books by the Trueface group called “The Cure”, and “Trust for Today”. The latter books are taking me deeper into God’s heart for me, and out of religious performance. This perspective is having an effect on my fear of being criticized or shamed by God.
But this is a complex painting (and, I sense, a beautiful one). Chris Hedges bring up the reasons why we are sitting on a powder keg of our own making. Deep down, for a long time, I have known that something is wrong. The wide difference in gasoline prices between the US and Europe, even between the US and Canada. The jobs getting shipped overseas to take advantage of “wage arbitrage”. Wage arbitrage is a nice way of saying that other countries don’t have all the “expenses” of child labor laws, environmental responsibility, and safety requirements. So, since they aren’t our “neighbors”, we can treat them like dirt.
And what happened here, because we were so calloused? Managers got bonuses, could buy better cars, take better vacations, retire earlier, and even have a winter home, and a cottage on the lake. Others made money off of the stocks that were performing better because of screwing our neighbors.
And, I have to admit, without the mercy and grace of the Lord, I would be pursuing a better car, a vacation, retirement and “puttering”, and a house, or two. Those same desires are in my heart.
Chris Hedges seems to warn us that they are in a lot of people’s hearts. And the 1% will not want to share the wealth. And that will result in class wars, revolution, violence, counter-violence.
All of that is in the Lord’s hands. I have fear about it, but He can love me out of that fear. What is scarier still is where I am at, and where my heart is at.
I still buy Lotto tickets from time to time. And, when I drive to Canada, to see friends not too far over the border, I fill up with gas, in the last town on the US side, with hopes that I don’t have to buy much gas in Canada.
I have enjoyed the benefits of the system that I know to be inspired by the evil one.
The Trust for Today devotional by the Trueface group is aptly named. I can admit my failures. And honestly want to make amends. But, so much of the time, I don’t know how. It is at those times that the words of Psalm 51 echo.
“Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge” (NASB)
My sin in desiring the things of the power elite, and enjoying the benefits from racial and sexual bias are sins against God. Other people have suffered, and I haven’t. He will know when to being people by, where I can ask forgiveness, or offer tangible help. From times that He has done that, it will be hard and humbling, though I believe that it won’t always be so.
Survivor’s guilt, and the shame of privilege aren’t things that we talk about much in the church. At this point, I don’t know any healthy responses except to acknowledge my sin to Him, and wait and listen to Him for His plan to put things right (and my Ps 127:1 part in it.)
We might as well expand it.
Unless the Lord heals the pains of affliction, oppression, neglect, and violence, those who seek to work justice and healing seek in vain.
We can be part of what He is doing in this area! But we are not wise enough to lead, and without His grace, we are not humble or courageous enough either.
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