Skip to main content

Where Are You Going?

Exodus 16: 23- 36

Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.

1 Peter 3: 13- 4: 6 (The Message)

Learn to Think Like Him

1-2 Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

John 16: 1- 15 (CJB)

“Not one of you is asking me, ‘Where are you going?’

Sometimes I have no idea why a phrase stands out. I re-read the Old Testament passage 5 or 6 times, and no other phrase stepped forward— “Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil….”

At first, I heard it as “You’ll do what you want to do no matter what I say, so go ahead. Fine! Nothing I say is going to stop you.” No matter what good intentions I might have, I’m still going to go ahead and do the same old thing. (This passage is about keeping the Sabbath, so the idea was to cook two days’ worth of food so that no work would be done on the rest day.)

Then, I had a notion that the reason it jumped out at me was because of the implications of waiting. If I cook the same old thing, but I don’t eat it right away and instead wait and save it for the next day, it breaks the immediate association between cooking something and eating it. It will have sat there overnight, waiting, and when I come to eat it, it won’t be the same as the food I cooked and ate immediately the day before. If I apply this notion to my ideas and preconceptions; my assumptions and my habits; then what I get is something like the old advice to “sleep on it.” If I cook up an extra helping of some idea that I’ve always had, and save it for the next day, then somehow when the next day arrives, the idea doesn’t look quite the same. It’s lost some of its familiarity and it looks different when I open my notion-pantry to take it out. The whole habitual sequence lies exposed to my understanding, and because there is this gap of waiting, whole patterns of assumption are disrupted. Now there’s a model for a spiritual Sabbath for you!

That segues neatly into the New Testament passage. “a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.” Hmmm... If I cook up a set of notions, but then wait until the next day to act on them, is it possible that doing so will enable me ‘to live out my days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what I want.’? Whoa, let me think about that for a minute!

Finally, there is the New Testament reading. I have no idea why that phrase was the liminal one, but it had the most powerful resonance of all. “Not one of you…”! In my current situation, it is certainly easier to whine about how painful it all is and to grieve for what I’m losing, just like the disciples were grieving because Jesus was ‘going away’. It stopped me cold.
Why am I not asking Christ “Where are you going?”

Sometimes the Friend is right there looking at me.

Not looking away, just sitting there watching me.

Not saying anything, while some question fades into stillness.

Sometimes there is a finger pointing at something that should have been obvious.

Sometimes there’s only the pressure of silence.

Not listening, not looking, not holding still—

That’s me, wanting my own way.

Listening, looking, holding still—

That’s me, seeing what’s really on my plate.

And finally, it occurs to me to ask, “Where are you going?”

Popular posts from this blog

Which Way The Wind Blows

Lectionaries are funny things— weird, abstruse little lists of biblical passages by number, sort of like tide tables or bus schedules. Today’s Lectionary passages (for 3-9-2018, the week of the third Sunday in Lent) are: Psalm 88; Genesis 47:1-26; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27; and Mark 6:47-56
About a month ago I posted a reflection in response to Abbess Jane’s Lectionary Musings blog on the same passage from Corinthians as the one listed for today in the Daily Office Readings Lectionary (BCP). That was supposed to be the reading for the 6th Sunday of Epiphany, according to +Jane, but I just can’t find it anywhere. I looked up Epiphany 6 in both the Daily Office Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary—not there. It’s not the reading from the Lindisfarne Community’s A Way of Living Lectionary for either Year 1 or 2 either. Oh well.
I was never the sort of autist who is fascinated by such things as bus schedules. I am much more inclined to be enthralled by maps. I wonder if I could make a L…

The Next Dance

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.
Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.

I’ve read this over about five times now, and it keeps on growing in my mind. The above is only a part of the verse cited, but it’s the part that kept reaching out and poking me. It’s the part that I felt was reading me; the part that was peering into my heart to see what is going on in there. It’s the part that sat down in front of me with a questioning look on its face, put its chin in its hand, and looked at me without saying anything. And kept on looking.
Eventually I started noticing specific things; I started trying to see what the verse was looking at in me. I noticed that it started out by talking about what love is; then what it isn’t; then back …

That'll Do

On Sunday the Psalm was the famous 23rd.  I’ve heard it so many times that I never expected anything new to come wandering across the border from that hinterland, but there ya go. So, the liminal phrase is this: “Your rod and your staff they comfort me,” or as the CJB says, “your rod and staff reassure me.”
I got to thinking, “Well, just exactly how does a shepherd use a staff and a rod?” The staff is used to guide the sheep and to catch them. Traditional staffs used in the UK have horn crooks with a sharp curled tip, which I suspect is designed to catch in the fleece. The rod was essentially a club used to defend against predators, but also as a goad to correct the sheep.
I’ve never really identified with the sheep; I mean they are really not very smart and don’t have much of a survival instinct. I also have misgivings about identifying myself as the shepherd of the sheep. So, I asked myself, “What other role might I fill in the whole sheep-shepherd metaphor?” and it came to me: Shee…