Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Corinthians 3: getting off the SOFA, and the family that hays together, stays together

Today's blog about I Corinthians 3 and began, fittingly enough, as a response to a sister in Christ who is part of my grief support group, and copied to the whole support group. Here is what I wrote:

Tough day today and yesterday, although there were some good times with my family and Imani's boyfriend's family. The Pages got together for dinner at the family farmhouse in Waterville, and I helped the Wheelers hay (see below). Inside the walls of my mind however I have been stuck on the SOFA:

Sad about still making pending burial, bedroom design decisions.

Overwhelmed by single parent demands on decision-making, money, travel and time, kids in transition, how they are coping, work/house repair/broken car windshield/career building aaARGHHH!!!!

Frustrated anytime something big or little changes my schedule. I'm usually not like that.

Angry at little things like making lunch and the cat jumping up and spilling my plate. From now on I should probably call a BLT & boiled egg the Blue Streak Plate Special.

So anyway in my mind's eye and spirit Jesus sits down next to me on the beatup, sagging, hard to get out of SOFA. He could have just stood over me, hands on hips and demanded that I get my lazy tookus OFF that couch and back in the game. But instead he listens. More Mary than Martha. Sometimes he looks like a weather-beaten semite with ageless, understanding eyes. Sometimes he looks celestial. Sometimes he looks like you guys. And as I kvetch to Him his Word and Spirit communicate, in a non-interfering way, some helpful suggestions. Some are kind of spiritual, some are day to day practical. They all help me get off the SOFA.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a young seminarian once wrote of "Christ existing as church-community." I am a tangible part of His body on earth to you, and vice-versa. Now THERE is a sobering, exciting challenge. Like John the Baptist we are unworthy to tie His sandals, yet we are his beautiful feet. Like Paul we are the worst of sinners, transformed into one who can say "follow me as I follow Christ." Hands that would have slapped the Nazarene now heal and give out bread in His name.

* * * * *

So cool helping (mostly watching) the extended Wheeler clan, three generations of uncles, grandchildren, step-grandfathers, cousins, etc. etc., as they hayed their field up in Wolcott. The elders lead, the mechanics fix things that break, the young follow and learn, by rebuke if necessary (oh Ben you DIDN'T say that!). There are no superstars, just a whole family pulling together to make hay while the sun shines, knowing that when it finally sets, their work would be o'er, and they would all sit down and feast together. (If you have ever eaten Aunt 'Chel's and Kim's blueberry pies and chocolate no-bake cookies, you will know that "feast" is not an exaggeration.)

To paraphrase Paul in Chapter 3 of I Corinthians: We are God's fellow workers, we are God's hayfield, and the fruit of our labors will be stored in God's haybarn. One mows, another bales, another operates the portable barn elevator, but God makes the hay grow. So - the family that hays together, stays

 together! Just DON'T try to build a house with it (see vs. 12). 

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