Friday, April 09, 2010

Trial Dress

I had planned on spending one day sewing up a quick dress. It was more like one day just to lay out the pattern with all the adjustments I had to make. And there's a lining on the bodice; I haven't done that before. Then I tried it on and discovered that I needed to make some alterations (like raising the neckline and adjusting some baggy spots). Okay, so it was a week-long project and not a day-long project. This was supposed to be the trial dress, made with el-cheapo fabric, just to get my feet wet. Next I start the winter dress, hopefully with a lot more wisdom under my belt. The next one on the same pattern should be much easier. Right? Right????

Are You Having Fun?

Have you noticed how often that question comes up? When you're at the park or a concert or a museum or a skating rink, parents (or other kids) are frequently asking kids, "So, are you having fun?" Questions like that arise on vacations and other family outings too.

Why do we ask?

If somebody says, "No, this isn't fun," are we going to interrupt our bowling game and take the whole family home because one person isn't having fun? C'mon admit it -- if a kid says he's not having fun at the beach, you're not going to break off your week's vacation, pack up your belongings, and drive home. If he'd have more fun in the hotel with video games than at the beach, are you going to let him hole-up in his own little on-screen world and disconnect from the family, or are you going to stay at the beach and enjoy the sun and the sound of the waves and the smell of the saltwater?

So why do we ask?

I think the frequency of this question in our society encourages us to turn inward. Instead of enjoying (or not enjoying!) experiences, we are evaluating our response to experiences. We can't take an event for what it is, but we focus instead on whether we're having fun with it. I think the pervasiveness of this question leads to depression at holidays, where people are so concerned with how they feel about the enjoyment of their holiday that they cannot just take Thanksgiving or Christmas as it comes, however it comes. Frequently wondering "Am I having fun?" leads us to become fun-junkies, always looking for more excitement and a bigger high; it easily leaves us with disappointment when the new Lego set or the new car or the great vacation doesn't bring endless joy.

You know what? I have a whole lot more fun when I'm not trying to have fun.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Not Enough Time

Jane linked to an article about time-debt, and how we overspend our time like so many of us overspend our dollars. We plan to "pay it back" later, but we won't have any more spare time later than we do now.

Everything in this article is stuff I already know. But it's so hard to deny ourselves activities, socialization, duties, and other time-commitments. But the biggest thing that struck me was my consideration of a job. I cannot reduce any of my penny-pinching do-it-yourself ways if I take on paid employment. (Well, I could if I earned enough, but it would have to be a LOT.) But the reality is that my hours at a job each day mean I'd have to give up something else, and where would those hours come from? Probably do-it-yourself cooking, baking, and other frugality measures. So how much would I have to earn before a job paid off?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bits from Vigil -- Bound on the Altar

In Genesis 22, when Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

In Psalm 118, the passover psalm, the psalm the pilgrims sang on Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, we hear: Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

Sometimes we see crucifixes or paintings that show cords binding Jesus to the cross. This is a bad thing if the nails have been left out so that people don't get the heebie-jeebies over Jesus' being nailed to the cross. But if the wounds and the nails are there, the rope isn't a bad thing. We hear both in Genesis 22 and in Psalm 118 that the sacrifice is bound. And Jesus is the sacrifice.

Repetitions in Musical Lyrics

The liturgical-type folks often complain about the contemporary-worship folks having songs that repeat choruses over and over, or repeat the same lines again and again. Contrary to those "on my side of the argument," I don't necessarily see that as a problem. I very much like "God the Father, Be Our Stay" which repeats the same prayer, first to the Father, then to the Son, then to the Spirit.

I noticed too that Bach's and Handel's pieces are often very repetitious. It only takes a line or two to write out all the words from a 5-minute piece from the Messiah or from an aria. Similarly, it can be repetitious to pray the Our Father or the Hail Mary or the Jesus Prayer over and over. People may differ on opinions of whether this is good or bad, but it would be inconsistent to say that the meditative repetition is good for the one kind of music but bad for the other kind of music. Maybe we need to admit that there really is a difference in theology between the two kinds of music, and not claim that there's a problem with the style.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bits from Vigil -- Moses' and Miriam's Song

Your right hand, o Yahweh, has become glorious in power.

You stretched out Your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed.

I'd prefer to capitalize "Right Hand" because it is so often a name for Jesus, yet another designation for the pre-incarnate Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

The reason the Israelites passed through on dry ground,
the reason the Egyptians were destroyed,
the reason all enemies of God are defeated,
the reason He has safely brought His people through danger,

because Jesus was "stretched out" on the cross.
And that is how He has become glorious in power.
That death is how His enemies are dashed to pieces.

Bits from Vigil -- Noah's Animals

We hear in Genesis 1 about the animals being brought forth, each according to its kind.

And then in chapters 6-7, when we hear about the destruction of the earth and the re-creation of the new earth, we hear that God gathered the animals and brought them to the ark, each after its kind. And they were sent out after the flood according to their kind.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Bits from Vigil -- Questions to Consider

In the first chapter of Genesis, God gives every green herb, and every seed from the green herbs and from the trees yielding fruit, to man and the critters for their food. This has something (but I don't know what yet) to do with Jesus being the sustenance for all creation. It's not just about His feeding us earthly food, although it is about that too. Somehow, it's connected to the end of Isaiah 55 and that chunk of Colossians 1.

We kept hearing in various readings that So-and-so "lifted up his eyes and looked...." That "lifted up his eyes" probably means something. Not just that he opened his peepers and pointed them in a particular direction. But I don't know what it means.

In Genesis 22, after God stops Abraham from slaying his son, his only son whom he loved, we hear that "Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and there behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns." Interesting that he saw what was behind him when he looked up. I'm not sure what that means, either.

Oh, I do love the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. From our vantage point, we see how clearly God's people SAW the events of Good Friday in that story, even though they didn't realize what they were seeing. There are probably plenty of things we see, too, in the stories, truths that we don't realize we're seeing. But they will be clear enough one day when we no longer see as though in a mirror dimly.