Light

23 Light.png Matthew 5:13 The Message (MSG)

Salt and Light

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

Salt is pretty awesome, especially if you mix it with caramel.

Add that to salty chips and you’ve got to say salt is the most important food in life.

I Love salt!

So it’s a pretty big gig for God to say we are salt, and that we are to bring out his flavours. I wonder what his flavours are?

I notice that this verse doesn’t say “If you lose your saltiness, never mind. It’s the thought that counts. Keep calm and carry on.”

Errr… it DOES say “You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” Maybe that’s just The Message version, let’s look up the NIV … “It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Hmmm not much better.

Crikey this sounds serious. Am I salty? (Pink Himalayan rock salt of course)

Let’s read on: verse 14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

I think a little wee just travelled down my leg

Is it just me or does that sound like a big statement? “You are the light of the world”. ?!?!

I mean thankfully in John 8:12 Jesus says “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

So that’s good, but still… I am the light of the world seems like a big ask to me.

It also seems that I am not supposed to hide this light, it should be like a town built on a hill.

I have to say, I have hidden this light A LOT. I mean not just a little oops I forgot to share the light and hid it under bowl occasionally type hidden, but the I’m sorry but I’m too self-absorbed, embarrassed and ashamed of you Lord to share this light even though I know its life and death important I’m not willing to upset my well-manicured social boundaries on your behalf type hidden.

Its seems like this might be an important/serious area of my life to grow in if I want to keep out of the garbage… Am I a salty light? Or am I a bland bowl hider….

NZ Breakers

19 NZBreakers.png  

In an effort to throw me off my game a Kiwi gave me the word NZ Breakers for my 30 day writing challenge.

Initially I was flummoxed. What was I going to write about? Dealing with devastating Loss? Being second best? Grace in the midst of agonising defeat? The lifelong battle to pronounce vowels correctly?

But then, it came to me. I should reminisce about the time I was set upon by a gang of 40 somethings.

Do you know what I love? I love getting up early on cold winter mornings to watch my son play basketball in the sub zero climate of a basketball stadium. Combine that with teenage man sweat in the air and you’re on a winner.

One such morning was extra special, because it was the grand final! Yes!! My son’s team had reached the final, and the air was a buzz of expectation. I sat down on the slightly too narrow for my girth icy bench seat (WHHHYYYYY do they make them out of metal???). I was super anxious for my son’s team to win, but had also researched and rehearsed the platitudes for a crushed teenage soul in the face of devastating loss. Either way I could see a trip to McDonalds in my future.

I sat ready for the game trying to blend in as instructed by my son (apparently it was not a good idea for me to spray paint the team colours on my hair, how dull.)

Suddenly the coach approached the pumped parent group with a furrowed brow (I’ve always wanted to use the phrase furrowed brow, tick!) he was saying that he needed someone to volunteer to operate the electronic score board. Eye’s darted, awkward pauses commenced, a sudden need to fossick in my handbag overcame me, but as often happens my mouth works faster than my brain and I accidentally volunteered.

How hard can it be?

The game commenced. I sat aside a delightful woman from the opposing team. She had the hard job, she held… the pencil. She dutifully recorded every point, foul, and knee scrape. She was AMAZING. I sat there and pressed a button. 2 points = press 2 times, 1 point = press one time. I SO NAILED IT.

The game was close. Really close, but I kept up with my score board duties with aplomb.

In the last quarter I was informed that because it was the grand final, when the ball was not in play I had to stop the clock, and then of course start the clock when the ball went back in to play. How hard can that be, after all I’m a woman, I can multitask.

It was, shall we say, harder than expected.

Tension was high, 2 minutes remaining, scores are tied. We missed our shot, they blocked the ball, it went out of court, STOP THE CLOCK, the umpire passes it, the player passes it in, START THE CLOCK he trips over, there is teenage man sweat on the floor STOP THE CLOCK, the young fella wipes it up START THE CLOCK the player fouls STOP THE CLOCK she scribbles with her pencil START THE CLOCK, he blows his whistle, STOP THE CLOCK, he blows it again START THE CLOCK…. It was terrifying!! My finger is trembling, my mind racing, the scores are so close, each second counts, I hope I’m doing a good job, my heart is beating out of my chest, 10 seconds remain and the scores are… wait.. the scores… teeth clenching bowel twisting blood rushing Oh Em Gee… I had forgotten to adjust the scores.

So, as you do, with 10 seconds remaining in a hotly contested grand final you adjust the score board you had momentarily ignored from my sons team losing by 2 points to my sons team winning by 2 points.

…I tried for a sheepish look on my face but it didn’t cut it.

The stadium erupted… (so I stopped the clock)…

They descended upon me, it was, actually, a bit scary. They were ANGRY, I was surrounded by a mob of 40 something angry parents. Not players. The young boys were just standing on the court, understandably crushed and perplexed, but the parents… There were finger pointing, accusation spitting, forehead vein popping tirades being fired at me from all directions. The umpire had to position himself between them and me and blow his whistle. He checked the score on the sheet recorded by the pencil lady. Yes, it was correct, we were winning by 2 points.

So… I started the clock, 10, 9, 8… the time ran out… and we won. (yay…)

There’s so many deep and meaningful illustrations I could draw upon from that character building moment in my life, but that would be trite so I’ll just say…. I’m available for hire if the NZ Breakers need a little help getting over the line ;)

Cake

  1 cake.png

So there’s a story in the bible about Joseph. I’ll give you the Bec paraphrased version (BPV)

Jospeh is a dude with a cool jacket who gets sold by his brothers (nice) and gets put into prison. After he suffers in prison for a few years he gets to be Pharaoh’s right hand man, and his family decide he’s not that bad after all. Ohh, also he interprets weird dreams and shit.

I may have missed a few things but that will do it for now.

So Joseph. He’s in the bible. And there’s this one bit where he is in prison and he interprets dreams.

I’ll put the REAL version in (apparently it’s better than the BPV)

Genesis 40    The Message (MSG)

40 1-4 As time went on, it happened that the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt crossed their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the head cupbearer and the head baker, and put them in custody under the captain of the guard; it was the same jail where Joseph was held. The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to see to their needs.

4-7 After they had been in custody for a while, the king’s cupbearer and baker, while being held in the jail, both had a dream on the same night, each dream having its own meaning. When Joseph arrived in the morning, he noticed that they were feeling low. So he asked them, the two officials of Pharaoh who had been thrown into jail with him, “What’s wrong? Why the long faces?”

They said, “We dreamed dreams and there’s no one to interpret them.”

Joseph said, “Don’t interpretations come from God? Tell me the dreams.”

9-11 First the head cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: “In my dream there was a vine in front of me with three branches on it: It budded, blossomed, and the clusters ripened into grapes. I was holding Pharaoh’s cup; I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and gave the cup to Pharaoh.”

12-15 Joseph said, “Here’s the meaning. The three branches are three days. Within three days, Pharaoh will get you out of here and put you back to your old work—you’ll be giving Pharaoh his cup just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me when things are going well with you again—tell Pharaoh about me and get me out of this place. I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews. And since I’ve been here, I’ve done nothing to deserve being put in this hole.”

16-17 When the head baker saw how well Joseph’s interpretation turned out, he spoke up: “My dream went like this: I saw three wicker baskets on my head; the top basket had assorted pastries from the bakery and birds were picking at them from the basket on my head.”

18-19 Joseph said, “This is the interpretation: The three baskets are three days; within three days Pharaoh will take off your head, impale you on a post, and the birds will pick your bones clean.”

20-22 And sure enough, on the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday and he threw a feast for all his servants. He set the head cupbearer and the head baker in places of honor in the presence of all the guests. Then he restored the head cupbearer to his cupbearing post; he handed Pharaoh his cup just as before. And then he impaled the head baker on a post, following Joseph’s interpretations exactly.

23 But the head cupbearer never gave Joseph another thought; he forgot all about him.

OK.

I like to think of myself as Joseph in this story.  An epic story of how God made him a great leader, and yeah he suffered terribly along the way, but eventually his prayers for that one power ball were answered.

But what if I’m the baker in this story? What if my life consists of  baking cakes all day (bearable but not my idea of fun) and then getting thrown into jail perhaps because Pharaoh didn’t like my sticky date?

So I’m praying for release from prison and God gives me a dream! Awesome. But it turns out to be a nice little heads up that in 3 days I’m gonna have a huge pole stuck up my butt and have my head cut off. (no reference to sticky date required)

#theawkwardmomentwhenyougetyourheadchoppedoffandapolestuckupyourarse

So whilst it’s nice to hear about old Joe and his flash jacket, I’m kind of interested in the baker.

I don’t want to gloss over this poor dude. Cos not everyone gets to be Joseph. In fact most people don’t get to be Joseph. Some people live a horrible unfair torturous existence and die a cruel and painful death.

So if God is good, then he isn’t just good when we triumph with a power ball life that makes our neighbours weep with jealousy. He is good when we live a life that by all accounts seem insignificant, unfair and uncomfortable.

He is good even when we are being impaled. This, my friends, is a struggle. To understand God’s goodness amidst horrific mistreatment and agony.

Don’t worry, I haven’t arrived. I’m still bitching and moaning about having to drive a purple car for crying out loud.

But I do think about the baker (not too much cos it makes my sphincter clench)

I think of him and remind myself that God’s goodness transcends my limited understanding, and I can only hope that the baker met Jesus during those 3 days of gracious warning God gave him, and that he is now sitting on his ring cushion baking triple choc deluxe cakes for the King of Kings.