Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wrath of God

Even though we are sinners, parents know the conflicting feelings when kids do things to hurt themselves.  Maybe the child wandered off and got lost at Target.  Maybe the preschooler ran into the busy street.  Maybe the toddler reached out to put her hand on the red-hot burner on the electric stove.   Maybe the teenager fell in with the wrong crowd and is hanging out where crimes are committed.  The parents love the child.  The parents want to protect the child.  Mixed in with all this love and protection is some anger.  It's not sinful anger (although it's certainly possible for sinful anger to be mixed in too).  There is justified, righteous anger that the one you love --more than you love yourself-- is hurting himself.

Being angry does NOT mean the parents don't love.  Quite the opposite.  If the parents didn't love so profoundly, there wouldn't be anger. 

I spent decades confused by what it is to "fear, love, and trust" in God.  But when I experienced what it is to fear, love, and trust a person, I began to understand how those are not conflicting verbs.  Now I'm beginning to see, in the same way, that the experience of motherhood helps me have an inkling of how wrath and love co-exist.

Psalm 85 tells us that
the Lord has forgiven the iniquity of His people. 
He has covered all their sin. 
He has taken away all His wrath. 
He has turned from the fierceness of His anger.   

If He has "taken away all His wrath," that means there was wrath.  The forgiveness of sin took away His wrath toward us.  But it was there, and something caused it to cease. 

I suppose it's not reasonable to think that a loving God could be wrathful.  But there are lots of things the Bible says that our puny, reasonable minds cannot comprehend: the trinity and the incarnation for starters.  We don't jettison the clear words of Scripture just because our finite reason cannot understand.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kitchen Herbs

Tomatoes are beginning to trickle in from the garden.  I want basil to go with it!  But my basil plants are a whopping 1-2" high right now.  We looked at the local grocer.  Of the two stores in town, one didn't carry fresh basil, and the other had a tiny, skinny box of organic basil for $3.  Three bucks for about 10 basil leaves?  [gasp, hyperventilate, preparing to rant...]

We asked one of the employees, "Is there any non-organic basil?  The organic is a bit pricey."  No, they didn't carry any other brands, but they carried live kitchen herbs, including basil.  Wow!  I bought a pot of basil and a pot of rosemary.  Even if the basil didn't grow, even if all I harvested was what was on the plant that very day, it was still twice as much fresh basil for a smaller price than that expensive little boxful.

The basil is doing great.  The rosemary has dried up and looks pitiful.  But if I can make this work, it may mean basil and fresh cilantro through the winter.  It's a 3x3x3" container (with holes in the bottom) with several basil plants growing in it, and it sits on a dish.  The instructions say to keep snipping off the tops of plants to harvest leaves, and to keep water in the saucer/bowl so that the soil soaks up the moisture.

Huh.  I always was pulling leaves off the sides of my herbs.  I guess I should've been chopping their tops off.  Well, this is good to know, whether for inside or outside herbs.

Basil on my sandwich tomorrow!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Apostles and Prophets

The glorious company of the apostles praise Thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise Thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise Thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee.
te Deum

... built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.  
Ephesians 2:20

Why are the apostles listed first?  In time, the prophets came first.  

Sometimes, facing problems allows for a sharpening of language.  Sometimes, dealing with controversy allows us to come to clearer understandings than we had before.  

Pastor pointed out recently that the apostles are listed before the prophets because they had been brought to clearer understandings.  The prophets were important; they taught the truth; they were God's messengers.  But the apostles were even greater. Because of the passage of time, they could see things the prophets hadn't.  They knew what the prophets had handed down, but then also knew more.  Ancientness is not necessarily the place where we find purest truth.   

Sometimes, we really do stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Plan for Exercise?

Over the past week, I finally succumbed to the idea that we could (should?) join a gym.  Maggie needs exercise.  We're not managing to make it happen.  What if we joined the gym that's about a mile from the house?  No more "it's too hot to go for an exercise-walk" or "it's too cold" during winter or "it's too rainy" (which we haven't had ANY problem with this summer).

Curves requires a year-long contract.  Snap doesn't.  Snap is less than half the distance as Curves.  So we dropped by today to sign up.  But registration had to be online.  And I couldn't register Maggie for the one-month-trial because she wasn't old enough.  When I asked the local gym, they suggested getting a free trial for me and then bringing Maggie as my guest.  But that means we'd have to be there only during the hours they are staffed which (given my work hours) gives us only two afternoons a week.  Not exactly a realistic trial.  But maybe better than nothing?

Maggie begged to not join.  (She really likes following the rules to a T.  And this would've involved several exceptions to the rules.)  We finally decided we'd take another crack at exercising at home.  Walks will have to be in the morning before the temperature of the air becomes higher than body temperature.  Same for biking.  We checked out some Netflix instant-play exercises videos.  For the most part, they move too fast for us to figure out.  Move your arms how while you're doing what with that sliding dance step?! But time may help with that. 

We have to start small.  With achievable goals.  But it's such a long haul to see improvement ....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Things You Don't Want to Remember

More than 30 years have passed.  I still remember. 

The other day some friends pointed me to an article on watching horror movies and other scenes which impress themselves on our minds.  And I remembered.

"We" were me, my new husband, my father-in-law, and the guy who'd been Gary's roommate the previous year.  We'd been in Washington for a week for my brother-in-law's wedding.  We'd had some late nights visiting and celebrating.  It was a long drive home.  We needed to stop.  We'd been watching billboards, hunting a hotel.  We'd been exiting the highway, scanning for signs of hotels.  Nothing.  At exit after exit, we were finding nothing.  Our eyes were getting heavy.  We really needed to stop for the night.

Finally an ad for a hotel.  Phew!  We took the next exit, followed the signs, pulled into the hotel's parking lot ... and began to wonder.  This didn't look like the kind of hotel I wanted to stay in.  Small.  Not well kept-up.  Hourly rates.  Yeah -- hourly rates.  But we were SO tired.  We checked in.*

We showered, climbed into bed, turned on the television.  And our eyes about popped out of our skulls.  We turned it off.  But 30-some years later, I still remember what was on that screen.  Just that one small experience makes me realize how important it is to guard our eyes and our imaginations from pictures that cannot be erased. 

I still remember being a child terrified of "The Wizard of Oz."  I still remember some of those Godzilla movies.  I cannot understand the popularity of the zombie movies today.  I've never watched "Friday the 13th" or "The Exorcist" or any of those other horror films.  My mom told me we should watch "Saving Private Ryan" (which is history, not billed as Horror) but I just couldn't. 

I have friends who don't want to watch "The Passion of the Christ."  Even though I can't understand (because the awful things in that movie are our life and our salvation and our joy, and because the theology embedded in that movie is gorgeously rich) I do understand because it's vivid, and it's emotional, and it's something that cannot be erased from your mind when once you've seen it.

But when the reason to see a movie is merely for entertainment (?) or because everyone else is seeing it, why do we willingly expose ourselves to such nastiness?  For fun?  Something's wrong.

* The kicker came the next morning.  When we checked out and hopped back on the interstate, the very next exit had several big-name hotels.  If we'd only held out for 15 more minutes....