Lent 06: Day Three

Today has been a tiring day. Yesterday I worked hard all day in the fields and then had to prepare supper before I could even take a moments rest. Even then I knew I had just done my duty, so I didn’t indulge myself with thoughts of deserving a better lot in life. But that was yesterday.

Even the best of us get a bit worn down. Elijah in his cave and the Baptist in prison being two examples of those specially chosen who came close to edge. Then you have the rest of us, the ordinary folk, who are members of the chorus. We are not singled out for greatness, not like James and John who could be so bold as to ask to sit at the Lord’s left and right hand. I have often said, better to sweep the floors and do the dishes after the banquet in heaven than be second in command of hell. But, it is only through the grace of God that any of even get as far as hoisting a broom.

Where is this going, you ask? Just that spiritual journeys and paths of renewal are not straight lines climbing into ever-increasing glory. They are fitful excursions, zigzagging a course against an often difficult headwind with a white squall thrown in once in a while to really shake things up. I have often thought that the Holy Spirit was as much the Holy Disturber as he is the Holy Comforter.

In the midst of all this upset, there is something within us that longs for peace, for the turmoil to cease. However, that desire is often pilloried as pie in the sky and castigated as eventually boring, an eternity of blissful though terminal tedium. Too many people’s idea of the Christian heaven is clouds and harps and singing hymns all day. Jesus instead talked about being rulers over cities, kings and priests to the Most High God.

I think it is fitting our savior was a tradesman; someone who labored with his hands, intimately working with each piece, making it fit the chosen pattern and dimensions. My personal hope is to one day talk carpentry with Jesus. I want to know what the wood felt like under his hands. Did it speak to him and he to it as he labor to make its rough finish into one smooth to the touch, working it from coarse to beautiful, much like he does with us, if we let him.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe study and theology and all such pursuits are blessed of God, but I also believe that what we think of as the common things are also important. The true child of God is balanced; tending the Garden is as honorable as tending the Word and we should do both. It seems we have lost that equilibrium.

If there is one thing I got out my readings in Church history it was an appreciation for the Medieval monasteries and monks, at least the best of them understood the nobleness and holiness of common labor. Paul made tents; Jesus was a carpenter. It could be tiring work, but a good tired, an easy sleeping tired.

Today I was stressfully tired. Work demands and deadline have resulted in my first taste of high blood pressure, something that I never had to deal with before. But God is telling me to lose 40 pounds. To be disciplined in my labor and my diet and exercise. He is telling me to good tired, not stress tired. I will do my best to be obedient.
May God’s grace and peace be with you. May your tiredness be good, your rest refreshing and your labor bountiful and may it all center in him in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.

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