Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Fever

My Grandfather WalkingStick was an oil scout for Philips Petroleum in the 1930s. My mother tells vivid stories of her childhood, moving with the oil camps, watching the derricks go up. It was a life of dramatic contrasts, of exotic wealth in the midst of a fierce depression, constantly on the move, constantly surrounded by violence and drama. As children we heard these stories and thought how wonderfully romantic it all seemed. I was also secretly grateful for my comparatively sedate and secure life. It was a time when the earth was ripped open, lives were shattered, the dust swirled and children walked a very fine line between survival and peril. Greed in desperate times can be the cruelest emperor.

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Luke 20:25

Those times echo in our own. There was abundance then, even when the country was impoverished, when bread lines were long, and when children went begging on the street. The black crude shooting out of the red clay gave everyone near it a fever, an ache to be overwhelmed with money. Ultimately no one wins when that kind of frenzy occurs, when broken people aching to be whole chase after what is the obvious but wrong, answer. Jesus knew that ache in his last days. He saw people desperate to restore the right order of things, while the occupying government bled them dry. It gives people a fever. Jesus knew they belonged to God, those feverish people. He knew that their coin belongs to whomever was in charge. Things like that never change. What can change then and now, is our hearts. We can know the reality of our need, the desperation of our circumstances without taking down our neighbors or climbing over innocents. We can know we are cradled in the arms of a loving Creator, one who came for us and continues to seek us until found.

May we recognise today the creeping anxiety around us, the fever within us and know that God already has a way through it. We are God's, not shiny stamped impressions of a dead king. We are precious, more precious than child to a parent. God is feverish to find us, to hold us and to restore all that we have lost. " Fear not, we belong to God" will be the phrase I repeat all day today. There is always much to fear. And God is always faithful.

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