Archive for May, 2006

Our Father

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

I’ve spent the last few evenings in my front yard. Not enjoying the finally-spring weather, not relaxing after a day at work, not sipping a mint julep (what do those taste like anyway?). No, I’ve been weeding, digging, moving stones, clearing last fall’s leaves, adding topsoil, setting out flowers (that most probably will *not* thrive, as usual), and mulching. And why? because the yard was a neighborhood eyesore for the whole month of April and the first two weeks of May. It’s still a long way from Yard-of-the-Month, but at least now it is a half-step up from Hell’s half acre.

On to the point…as I was grubbing in the dirt, thumb-wrestling an ugly earthworm for a particularly stubborn broadleaf weed, I heard a child–a little girl I think, but could have been a little boy–in happy conversation with a father. They were clearly having a great time, but I couldn’t make out their words… until, after a short pause, the child called out excitedly, “Daddy! Daddy! Look at me!” and the father responded enthusiastically, “That’s great! Way to go, baby!”

That exchange made my evening.

It reminded me that the center of life–not just my life, but human Life on this planet–is relationship. Relationship with Daddy. Papa. Father. An association with God that begins with recognition, moves through repentance into redemption and up to resurrection, culminating in relationship through the indwelling “Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'”

The child in my neighbor’s yard was fully engaged with Daddy. For the task at hand, Daddy was helper, teacher, guide, and enabler. When, with Daddy’s help, the task was being accomplished successfully (Daddy, look at me!), Daddy was encourager (Way to go, baby!).

When I am fully engaged with God, God is all I need for the task at hand. And when, in God’s strength, I enjoy successful accomplishment, God is my reward.

The Year of Kindness Revisited

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

You ever think about songs you used to sing that are seldom sung anymore? “Make Me a Blessing” used to be really popular in the Sunday School I attended every weekend. I never much cared for it; the music was too bland, the lyric too cliched, the song was just too too uninteresting for my taste. And the whole notion seemed a little like sucking up to people I didn’t necessarily know and probably wouldn’t like. (Even though I usually kept my mouth shut, I’ve always had a bad attitude.)

Fast-forward to 2006 and the previously discussed Year of Kindness. After not thinking about the song in years, I find that “Make Me a Blessing” has insinuated itself into my consciousness as part of this year’s quest for kindness. “Make Me a Blessing” has, in fact, become a constant prayer.

My Father God has worked a miracle in my psyche. Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, Saviour, I pray;
Make me a blessing to someone today.
– Ira B. Wilson

A couple other things:

  • There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person (G. K. Chesterton)
  • The English verb bless derives from the Germanic noun for blood and literally means “to consecrate with blood.” So as a Christian, I have been blessed (i.e. consecrated with Christ’s blood) so that I can be a blessing to (i.e. contribute to the well-being of) others.

Cliched lyrics? Maybe. But not an uninteresting sentiment. Not a suck-up philosophy. Just “the living expression of God’s kindness.”