Wednesday, October 29, 2008
State of Shock
"Woe to you, Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God." Luke 11:42
We arrived home yesterday, ten hours after we left Honolulu, to cold rain and a temperature of 39 degrees. When we left Honolulu it was a warm and pleasant 85 degrees. We had enjoyed a splendid day, first swimming at the beach and then exploring the hills and out of the way places of Oahu. We left a community that is gentle and welcoming, even in their driving habits, to return to North Jersey which is full of it's own special welcomes and very aggressive drivers. My body was in shock due to the temperature extremes, lack of sleep and time differences. My spirit was in a state of shock too - joyful to be home and yet seeing home with the surprised eyes of a visitor. I was thrilled to be home, to gathered up our animals and be in the comfort of our own surroundings. And yet, the gift and challenge of stepping away from home is the new lens we gain on the world from being away and the insights we can borrow from other people and other places.
Jesus encountered critical Pharisees, who were unable to see the world through any but their own lens. They knew that they were following the complete letter of the law. They couldn't see that they were breaking the heart of God. They were focusing on the rules and were overlooking the suffering in their community. They missed the big picture of God, because they had a careful, close-up view of the details of daily life. How easy it is to get accustomed to indifference in familiar surrounding. How challenging it is to gain insight when we are focused on being right rather than being present with God.
Today, I want to take up the challenge to see my familiar world with new eyes. I want to take my focus off of the details of existence and put it on the heart of God. I want to participate in the love of God poured out for the world. May God give me the strength and capacity to take in the world around me and notice those who I have never seen before. And may I act with God's justice and love today. I pray you will join me in living today, not by rules but by heart - God's heart.