The Waters

Learning the craft of canoeing, I was thrilled by the ease we moved, gliding effortlessly across the lake, skimming the surface like dragon flies. The row boat had been fun at first; I mastered maneuvering it with the oars imprisoned in their oarlocks. With it I could plod on water; the canoe let me dance. A slight curve of the paddle blade was all that was needed to change course, turn from snag or rock, get a closer view of the heron in the reeds.
All rowboats have to yield to a passing canoe for a lumbering boat is easier to stop than a lively, freely moving craft. It is a law of the waters. In my canoe I conquer worlds, exploring the unknown around the next bend, gliding past the row boats with my queenly head held high, scarcely noticing slower, subservient vessels as I go.
But then! A sloop approaches dressed in full sail, bearing down the lane where I have been master of the waves. Superior in size and speed, it is unable to slow for an insignificant obstacle in its path. Now it is I who must give way, moving aside, stopping, yielding. It is the law of the waters.
WC-Canoe-nose2The Sunfish gives way to the yacht which yields to the ocean liner, for the behemoth is ruler of all. Too large for easy maneuverability, it plows ahead, often pushing aside or sinking lesser craft which do not heed the law of the waters. To change its course takes far more than a simple turn of paddle blade. To change its course requires reversal of engine, turning the screws, steering accurately.
In our lesser craft, we stand aside or even back paddle, submitting to the liner which will have its way lest we be pulled under, crushed, obliterated.

When the giant is on the waters, the dancing stops. It is the law.

Advertisements

The Open Door

open-door-field

Jan 1, 2014  The year of Ayin Daleth, or the Open Door.

Reading this morning the Sermon on the Mount. I began by thinking that Jesus did three things in his ministry: teach on the Kingdom of God, drive out demons and heal people’s physical bodies. Nowhere could I think of a place where he was concerned about who they were to marry, or where they would get a job, or any of the other issues we often put on prayer lists.

The Kingdom of God is not only about the great news that God the Father wants to be reconciled to his people, and is not mad at us. Rather, He is providing a way to escape his wrath.
But I also knew it incorporated more than healing the body and bringing freedom from outside pressure.

So I began in Matthew chapter 6. At the end of chapter 5 there is a brief account of his first ministry after the time of his temptation. People flocked to him because of the physical healings; his emphasis was on the good news from heaven about the Kingdom of God.

All the way through the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is emphasizing the importance of attitude, heart and mind as contrasted to the outward observance of religious law and custom. It is a complete shift in the way of looking at and understanding God’s expectations and requirements. As such, it is revolutionary. One of the most difficult tasks is to get people (including me) to see things in a different light than what we ‘know’ to be true. Belief systems get well locked into place and often require an equivalent of dynamite to change them. What He is saying cuts across the grain of our well-established ‘truth.’ It is not just the religious Jews of 2000 years ago, but the solid, God-acknowledging person of today who has beliefs which need changing. The church of today honors outward righteousness, good little worker bees, high achievers, charitable givers. In so doing, people pick up the unspoken idea that their salvation is secure based on their good works or long service in the church. This may not be the church’s intent, of course, but many pick up that belief anyway.

In the middle of talking about storing treasure and looking for security, are two verses which stand out as off-topic inclusions.
Mat 6:22  “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
           :23  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how     great is that darkness!
It was here that I turned to the commentaries for better understanding. I can’t say it better than this from the Believer’s Bible Commentary:
“Instead of light, there is darkness.
The application is this: The good eye belongs to the person whose motives are pure, who has a single desire for God’s    interests, and who is willing to accept Christ’s teachings literally. His whole life is flooded with light. He believes Jesus’ words, he forsakes earthly riches, he lays up treasures in heaven, and he knows that this is the only true security. On the other hand, the bad eye belongs to the person who is trying to live for two worlds. He doesn’t want to let go of his earthly treasures, yet he wants treasures in heaven too. The teachings of Jesus seems impractical and impossible to him. He lacks clear guidance since he is full of darkness.
Jesus adds the statement that if therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! In other words, if you know that Christ forbids trusting earthly treasures for security, yet you do it anyway, then the teaching you have failed to obey becomes darkness—a very intense form of spiritual blindness. You cannot see riches in their true perspective.”

This is of particular interest today because Ayin in Hebrew means ‘eye’ or way of seeing, and Daleth represents ‘door.’

Seeing things in a new light then is of utmost importance. The door is open to walk into new insights and away from some dearly held, yet untrue “truths.” Do we have the courage to ask to have our beliefs examined? To discover where we have been deceived? To change our thinking? I submit that is as exciting an adventure as exploring the far reaches of Patagonia. This year of Two Thousand Ayin Daleth the open door awaits .