Skip to main content

scale

Since we have downsized, scale has become an important dimension in my life. We have been shopping for a dining room table and chairs and I quickly realised that no matter how much I liked the furniture, if it was too big or too small or too wide or too long, it would not work well. And we are determined to work well in this space - to work with it and not against it. That being said, we must pay attention to dimensions and scale and proportion and adjust our expectations and wants accordingly.

The hind feet of my brain start to fidget every time I think about these things, so I know there is something important to be learned here, to be aware of. I know too many people who have crammed their small spaces full of stuff, either things too large or just too much. It makes one confused and unsettled when you walk in the room. Overly large items make a space seem smaller than it really is. Too small furniture and the room dwarfs you with its cavernous echoes and feels empty and bare.

I think most of us want big. We love large and dynamic and stunning and eye-catching. We also love more. More of everything. If we have liked something in small measure, certainly more is better. Always more. We can stuff in more.

I have seen people expect God to operate in this same way, with no regard for scale, proportion or capacity. I often do the same thing. I expect extremely big results and changes and revelations and miracles without taking into account how these large scale acts might impact the tiny space cleared for the divine. When we are touched in some way by a teaching or a reading or a song, we often fill our lives and homes with every teaching book, cd, dvd, and musical output available from a certain artist. I am not negating the usefulness of these tools, but oftentimes I think it is clutter. We think that more of the same is going to give us more of the experience. But there is no substitute for going to God every day for fresh and living bread. And things never happen the same way twice, to quote Aslan again from the movie, Prince Caspian.

Clutter means we have less room for the important stuff to live and breathe in our daily lives; we limit the capacity for new surprises and fresh truths to rearrange our souls into a more godly frame of being. Too large expectations mean that we miss the smaller scale of what God is doing right now. Focusing on not overextending ourselves by sticking with the small stuff leaves a big empty space that refuses to welcome others into it and results in a shriveled up soul.

How big is the place God has put me in? Am I working with it or against it? How big is my space for God? What am I filling it with?

This is but a small part of the vast Atlantic Ocean somewhere in New Brunswick on a cold foggy day in spring.

Comments

Lynn said…
Can I just copy everything you put on your blog, and paste it on mine? Just kidding. I love the way you think, Matte!
Shelley said…
I have been totally astounded this year about how much I have learned while trying to live in the moment and with a few, and letting go of reaching many with big things.

Popular posts from this blog

what does the cross mean?

Words which we use a lot can sometimes become divested of their depth of meaning. In the Christian tradition, we talk about the cross a lot. We see visual representations of the cross in prominent places in our gathering spaces, we wear crosses around our necks, some get crosses tattooed on their bodies. The cross is a ubiquitous symbol in Christianity, so lately I have been asking myself, what exactly does the cross mean? For the most part, the cross as portrayed in contemporary Christianity is a beautiful thing, festooned with flowers and sunsets and radiant beams of light (just google cross or cross coloring page). But in the first century, the cross was a symbol of disgrace. To the Roman empire, this ignoble instrument of death was for those who were traitors and enemies of the state. We are many centuries removed from this view of the cross as the locus of torture and death and shame. The fact that Christianity has made the cross a symbol of hope and beauty is a good thing, but p…

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…