With December on the doorstep the fields are yet bare of snow. Autumn brings lists and indoor work such to keep my mind from straying from grudges about the weather and season. Truth is, summer is always more of a gift than ever I could ask for. The buckets of flower and beans seeds saved from the final dehiscence of blooms and fruits are proof of trust and hope. Hope being a kind of prayer, we prayerfully tuck them away for the season of dark and cold.
Thoughts and ponderings take root during these dark quiet evenings and it occurs to me (once again) that the sermon on the mount is clear – we were never (none of us) saved merely for our own sake. All parts of our lives, whether verbal or non, active or passive, must radiate the love of Christ. If they don’t – if we give the impression of dislike or disapproval, we are a Pharisee. I’m not sure that I even mean that “we behave like one”. I think we become one. “Holier than thou, watch me I am the non-sinner and holy, you aren’t measuring up to my level of spirituality”. Only Christ has the right to look down on anyone. We don’t know if He looked down on the Pharisees or not, but he was not passive aggressive. He called out the Pharisees for being Whited Sepulchers. Whitewashed tombs. They loved their power and position, and every “sermon” they preached or rule they made or interpreted, was to keep that status.
He corrected the more lowly of sinners, but he never even once seemed to act with disgust or disapproval toward them. If we want to emulate Him, we must stop our disapproval tours, and begin loving those around us no matter how they’re dressed, or what they live like.
The person who seemed to be the convergence of the two (Pharisee yet humble sinner) was Nicodemus. He came with an honest question, willing to listen and learn. Jesus seemed to say “you should know this”, but then he told him outright – “you must be born again’, and helped him see what that meant. We don’t hear much about Nicodemus until the end when he helped bury Jesus. That is evidence to me that Nicodemus heard and obeyed.
When I have someone looking at me like I am so naughty (or that my children are?) it simply doesn’t create a desire in me to be more….be more what? They haven’t said.
It causes me to feel unloved and unwanted. Not even enough care goes into “looks”, to say what I should change. It is merely a mean look. Don’t get me wrong, I have known folks who have brought me their weekly list of my “wrongs” and I don’t like that either. I actually *am* within my biblical structure of authority and it is important to me to stay there (and you will find this in 1 Col 11. don’t add to it please). I don’t think I need to have a weekly list of character improvements by arbitrary people to move me onto a better path. That’s not to say I’m so good I don’t need work, I just listen better to love and acceptance. Like most people.
Get out of the way of the Holy Spirit and let Him do His job. Even this simplistic diatribe can help us see (myself included) that to love one another, is simply that. It isn’t “we love them so much we want to help them see they aren’t as good as us”.
“And they tossed scripture to pious spirits and feeble minds; two things I could never distinguish by dialect or dress” (Raymond St.Elmo)
As the days shorten, so shall my energy. It is then more important to budget this energy well. Choral programs, A daughter’s wedding, a few more “parties” here bring joy, meaning, and love to our home. Never give in to the temptation to shrivel within yourself. It will only bring grief. Next time I may re-attempt mirth. It seems more fitting.