Don’t settle down yet!

December 19, 2006

Hooray! I survived the semester! I finished finals last Friday and was ready to take a sigh of relief. Well, not really ready. I know, I know, I’m a complete nerd. James caught me getting ahead on my reading only an hour after my last class of the semester. I’m sorry but I really like school and a couple of my classes were out of this world and I was just not ready to let them go. Despite this, I was glad to finally have no more due dates. This is nice.

Then I realize that I do have more due dates. Specifically, Christmas. This girl thought she was pretty smart trying to make all her Christmas gifts this year. This is usually smart. It does save money. But it’s not smart when you consider that due to the busyness of the semester most of the projects weren’t started until classes were over. Even now, I should be cross stitching my little hands off but instead I’m blogging. Don’t worry, as soon as I finish this I’ll stitch, I promise.

I suppose I won’t write again until after Christmas so I’ll just offer some thoughts on the holiday. Not about the true meaning and all that. You know the true meaning and you should celebrate it that day and everyday. (Don’t worry, I don’t like I should either.) I want to say something about family. We all have one. Most of them are a crazy mess and once we’re out of the house it’s bittersweet to go back home. Sometimes more bitter than sweet. I just want to encourage you along with myself to love your family and whoever else you celebrate with on Christmas with your whole heart. Our families are usually the hardest to forgive but I encourage you to try it this year. I know I need too. Families always seem to think of new things to do that they need to be forgiven for. I think I forget that I do it too. I’m praying for grace from my family as well. So, this holiday I pray that we would love one another selflessly, which is hard to do when surrounded with gifts. I pray that we would look for ways to serve our families. For many, the holidays are a time to think of being a witness to their unbelieving families. I would encourage all of us to do this even if our families are believers. I usually associate the concept of sharing Jesus with unbelievers but why not the believers in our lives? We could all benefit from seeing Jesus in others. Well, now I’m ranting. Stream of consciousness writing usually turns into verbal diahhrea for me so I’ll stop. For now I wish you a Merry Christmas. I pray it’s filled with love, whether it’s because of your family or in spite of your family.

Advertisements

I’ve decided to take a moment from my busy cookie baking and finals studying to write about what I’ve been thinking about lately even though, in reality, time does not allow it. I didn’t want to wait any longer to write about these things because, eventually, I will stop thinking about it all and then what will I write?

Originally I wanted to focus on the topic of grace but every time I sat down to write I got focused on this recent lecture in my Life of Christ class and I just couldn’t get past it. So, rather than the topic, here’s what I learned from the lecture because, really, that’s what’s on my mind. That and which cookies I should bake tomorrow and will I pass the final in the aforementioned class.

This was the last lecture for the class so, as you can imagine, we were nearing the end of the gospels. At the start of class we were at the Upper Room Discourse. Throughout the class we have primarily focused on Mark’s gospel but today we diverged to look at John. At the start of all that happens in the upper room Jesus washes the discipes feet. The professor introduces it, reads the passage, and then says, “Let’s do it.” We all sort of laugh. Then he pulls out a basin from his podium. Less laughter. Then there are towels. Minimal laughter, perhaps some akward giggles. He sits down across from a chair and invites any student that wants to come have their feet washed. No one moves. The room is dead silent. After a few moments he says, “So I guess you all relate to Peter?” reminding us of verse six when Peter says, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”. And we did. I did. This is a professor that I respect immensely and I could not imagine letting him wash my feet. No. Finally one student goes up there, he sort of did it jokingly yet the professor looked him dead in the eye as he washed his foot. (Yes, only one foot.) It was a powerful moment in the class. If I respected him before I certainly respected him now.

Then he heads back to his podium and asked if the class understood what this act meant, much like Jesus did to the disciples (v 12). He invited us to look at the text again for interpretation. He focused primarily on Jesus’ interaction with Peter. The way that Christ speaks about His own actions indicates that there may be more to it then just an act of service. Look at the text:

“Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.””

Using this passage, our professor defended that Jesus was most likely illustrating sanctification and forgiveness. Verse ten is particularly convincing. The washing of the whole body is salvation, reconciliation with God through faith in Christ. This is why Christ does not say that the whole body must be cleaned again. The washing of the feet, a part of the body that continually gets dirty through walking dusty paths, illustrates sanctification, the forgiveness of our sins. Now, if this interpretation is true, it’s bad news for Judas but that can be a discussion for another day.

The interpretation fits though because, as the professor pointed out, the rest of the Upper Room Discourse focuses on sanctification. Think of the vine and the branches found in chapter 15. This is again about this ongoing relationship with Christ and the cleansing that is necessary for sanctification.

So, what then does it mean when Christ urges us to follow his example in washing one another’s feet. Is it literal? Perhaps. But, beyond that, Christ urges us to forgive one another. This is where it really went deep for me. For days I had been considering grace and how painful of a thing it is to accept, particularly when you truly know you do not deserve it. Sometimes it is difficult for me to even accept my husband’s love let alone God’s because of how painful it is to accept grace. It is true in this illustration. Peter did not want to allow Jesus to humble himself. The professor pointed out how funny it is that people are almost universally embarrassed of their feet. What a silly thing! It’s also true that forgiving others takes humility. A friend later said that it’s like the real dirty work is the washing, that’s where you have the potential to get the muddiest.

So, sit in the chair and let Christ wash your feet and forgive you of your sins. Remember to follow His example. Humble yourself and forgive those around you. Get over all the dirt and mud on the feet and the fact that it smells when your down there and the fact that they can’t just clean it themselves and the fact that they may not even realize how very dirty they are and forgive them. In doing this you follow Christ’s example. The church could really use some unconditional love and forgiveness. At least, I know I could. Couldn’t you?

While I’m thinking…

December 9, 2006

I’m working on a blog right now yet it’s not quite working that well. While I’m thinking on the subject and how to write about it let me draw your attention to a new feature…Are You Crazy? You can click on it there in the right margin. There you will find a fun little quiz to entertain you. Come back soon to read what I think about Grace. I know, your sitting on the edge of your seat holding your breath.

Meet Kitty Meow

December 1, 2006

laundry-kitty-005.jpgThis is our cat Kitty Meow. (Click on the pictures to get a better view.) Here, she’s enjoying the fruits of our laziness on a nice big pile of laundry. We love our cat. She makes us laugh and smile and she is an excellent pouncer. Oh, and she likes to rub her head on our feet when we wake up or get home or feed her. We call it “rubbies”. Other than that, she is a terrible cat. She rarely sits in our laps and only on specific conditions. She hates to be picked up which makes James want to pick her up as much as possible which I think makes her hate it even more. You can pet her but only for a specific amount of time which is always changing and only known to her. When she’s through with you petting her she will bite your hand. She also has this one spot that she loves to pee on when we upset her, particularly if we go out of town. People get cats so they can sit in armchairs and read laundry-kitty-016.jpgwith a warm body in their laps that purrs and likes to be pet. Oh, they also get cats so that they can go out of town with no worries. Kitty Meow is not that cat. The thing is, we love her anyway. We have unconditional love for Kitty Meow. I was tempted to make a spiritual analogy between us and the cat but I’ll let you do that or I’ll save it for another day. For now, meet Kitty. She also goes by Peanut and Kitty Meowingtons the Third. Her real name is Godzilla but that just never stuck.