Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Giving Honor

It was a blistering day.  Her husband wheeled her into her rightful position as mother of the groom.  The hard providence of illness had made walking, communicating, and doing most things incredibly difficult.  Yet even after years of suffering, she was there with a pretty dress and hat and curled hair.  She waited.

After her husband sat next to her, the only son she had borne and raised walked into the scene with his soon to be mother-in-law on his arm.  That son shone brightly in his wedding attire.  The woman on his arm all joy.  They walked to the seat designated for the mother of the bride. As they turned and looked at each other, they exchanged a few words, bright smiles, and a huge hug.  It was a pretty moment.

Then, that son, that only son, turned away from his bride's mother and walked to his spot to await his bride.    

I gasped.  Did no one else find that odd, strange, and even awful?  Did no one else feel the shock of a young groom sharing an intimate moment with his bride's mother but not his own?  Had he forgotten in the press of people and wedding jitters?  How could he forget to lean over and kiss his own mother?  Had he forgotten the vibrant, full of life woman she used to be?  Could he ignore this woman who had planned for him, prayed for him, given her life for him?  Had he expressed his love in private to her so that he wouldn't break down in public?  I don't know.  I still don't know.  But it was shocking that he did not give honor to the woman who loved him, bore him, nurtured him through childhood.  To give honor in that one moment before he went into his future.  To give honor to his bride's mother and not his own.  

I don't know what the reasons for the actions, but I do know what the ramifications were.  His mother sobbed....on and off through the ceremony.  Contained in her wheelchair, unable to move, she sobbed and I knew her heartbreak.

And this speaks to me of a much larger problem in the world.  We have forgotten how important it is to give honor to those God commands.  We breeze into worship and treat Jesus as if he were just a common person and does not deserve the honor due his name.  We try to equalize everyone and don't show honor to those elders and rulers God has given.  Men don't give honor unto their wives but treat them with contempt and ridicule.   Children aren't taught to honor the elderly, the sick and infirm, the wiser and older, the younger and weaker.  Giving honor recognizes the labors, the risks, and sacrifices that others do for us.  Giving honor demonstrates humility, courtesy and consideration of others more than ourselves.  Giving honor reveals a thankful heart.  It shows a heart of wisdom that realizes one day, we may be in the exact same position as the one we give honor unto.  Let us consider carefully what it means to give honor to others. 

"God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."  1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Outtakes from Daring Greatly

My book club is reading Brene Brown's "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead". Brown's TED talks are some of the most watched on the TED site and her books have been NY Times Bestsellers. Having finished the book, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes.  If one of the challenges of post-modern Christians is to learn to be authentic and courageous, then some of her insights can challenge us toward that goal.

"What we know matters, but who we are matters more."

"I know the yearning to believe that what I'm doing matters and how easy it is to confuse that with the drive to be extraordinary."

"Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement."

"....I also learned that the people who love me, the people I really depend on, were never the critics who were pointing at me while I stumbled.  They weren't in the bleachers at all.  They were with me in the arena.  Fighting for me and with me."

"There is no intimacy without vulnerability.  Yet another powerful example of vulnerability as courage."

And many more.  I have plenty to say about the book, but the one thought I record here is that engaged motherhood is all about daring greatly because being a mother is all about uncertainty and risk and vulnerability.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tennyson Today

A few lines from our poetry reading today that I loved.  These are from Tennyson's  "Morte D'Arthur":

"The old order changeth, yielding place to new.
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

Pray for my soul.  More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.  Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God."

These thoughts are beautiful reminders that God works in mysterious ways, and prayer is essential for who know what all it is accomplishing.  Urges me on to ceaseless prayers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A New Perspective

For years the part of Romans 12:2 that has been burned into my memory is, "Be Ye Transformed...."  It has always seemed like a commandment in that translation and that meant to me, it was something I was supposed to do.  Wow.  That made it a pretty tough commandment to follow.  Could I really work all these years on being transformed?

Then about a month ago, I bought a tiny copy of the New Living Translation Bible.  Every now and then I try a new translation to help give a fresh perspective on the Scriptures.  I am enjoying it, but the verse in Romans 12 was a shock and a relief.  In the NLT that verse says:  "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but LET GOD TRANSFORM YOU into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."  

Wow.  Did you get that difference?  It was like a cold snap of winter air hitting my face when I open the door.  "Let God transform you".  That is wonderful.  It isn't up to me anymore.  It is God doing the transforming, the metamorphosis, the work.  I am to surrender, to not kick against the work.  What a relief of a "works mentality" for me.  I hope it is for you too.