Friday, February 09, 2007

the tendency to lean


I need to go out and buy a shovel. It snowed a bit last night and the wind has been blowing, in fact it blew so much in the last few weeks that it snatched our last shovel right off the porch and into a parallel universe, at least that's where I assume it is since all my trudging through the snow and peering into neighbours' yards has yielded no glimpse of the tool.
Like cat fur, snow accummulates and if one does not stay on top of clearing it, things can get mighty unpleasant for everyone involved, including the cars. Today is also cleaning day where the aforementioned cat fur and dirt which have moved from their respective locations (on the cat or outside in the yard) must again be shown their proper places. I do not enjoy the constant maintenance and cleaning of things - it seems such a total waste of time. But other repetitive patterns like eating and going to the bathroom and working out and showering and sleeping seem altogether enjoyable most of the time. What is the difference?
While the second set of activities are natural and healthy, I believe the first ones are the result of our tendency to run from God. We don't want to stay close, to remain clean, accountable, always in earshot and sight of our Father, and ever mindful that he not only sees and knows us but wants to tell us what to do and who to be! The truth that he, in fact, knows us better than we know ourselves and sees the end from the beginning and places only the purest desires in our hearts, somehow manages to slip our minds so much of the time. Instead, like a 13-year-old sitting beside his mother in church, we lean away from our Father in heaven ever so slighty because sometimes he embarrasses us with his holiness, unshakeable character, or seeming uncoolness. The tendency of this whole world is to move away from God instead of towards him, and the further away we get, the less we experience the grace and life and healing that exudes from his presence and the more we try to clean up the ensuing messes with inadequate shovels and dusters and politics and healthcare systems and therapy, the bigger the mess gets, because sin is that way - it multiplies decomposition.
I have been reading about the kings of Judah and Israel and it is amazing, when you see things through the compression of history, how short people's attention span was, or how quickly they forgot that things go better when you choose to stand with God than when you choose to go your own way. After two generations, everything that David had stood for was in ruins. Staying close to God does require regular and concentrated attention, for my soul has a drifting, leaning, wayward tendency. Let me tend to the scrubbing and straightening up of my inner household today as I go about my outward tidying and cleaning.
Raise your shovel.
Oh, this is the clock tower at California State University in Berkeley.

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