Wednesday, February 24, 2016

stuck in yesterday, going nowhere fast

The Word for today:
Matthew 9:9-34
mark this: Matthew 9:16-17 --
"No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
I want to write about new wineskins today, and I can't even get started.
But I'm learning how this new life works, so I say a prayer first. I ask Jesus to write the article, since he spoke the parable. I congratulate myself, because I used to forget prayer until much later in the process.
But no idea takes shape, so I put my coat on and fetch the mail. Then I take our dog Chip for his daily walk through the fields behind our house.
I go back to my computer and I look out at a late February day. It has that late February light, suffused with a hint of spring. If I could nail this blog, I could run outside today. (For most of three snowy months, I've taken my daily jog on my treadmill. So please, Jesus, hurry up and write this before dark!)
I watch the birds at the feeder outside my window. The feeder is almost empty so I put on my coat and refill it -- which, technically, makes me an agent of God's beneficence (1).  (So wouldn't it be fair -- wouldn't it? -- if You'd refill my depleted head with an idea or two?)
But when I settle back into my chair, the only thing that registers in my empty head is the insistent and relentless ticking of the clock on the wall. When the phone rings, it startles me. It's Shelley.
"Are you writing in Matthew 9?"  (She's on the 'Stand in the Rain' reading schedule.)
"Because I never had a clue about all these old wineskins and these old garments until just this second, and I wanted to ask if I'm on the right track."
"Okay; let's hear what you've got," I said casually, not wanting to let on that her ideas might prove to be an absolute godsend.
"Well, the old gets in the way--old ways of seeing things; old procedures, yesterdays, and bygones. The old clothes don't fit the new person. We get stuck taking the same old steps over and over and we never get anywhere. Is that the right idea?"
"...The old clothes don't fit the new person.  We get stuck taking the same old steps over and over and we never get anywhere..."
It was hard for me to put into words just how right she was. Not only was she right, she was the angel of God's beneficence. As she spoke, the article took shape by itself.  The Pharisees were stuck, running in place.  They weren't responding to the new Light, the new Way, the new day before them.
I'm done.  I run a spell check.  I attach a picture of the treadmill I'm liberating myself from, starting today.
And it's not yet 4:30!  Lots of February light left to run through.
(1) see Matthew 6:26

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