There is a phrase for holidaymakers abroad: “Don’t leave your brain at the airport.” Because if you do it answers the cry of “Why me?” (from the bottom of some avoidable hole you have dug for yourself)
And I think there should be a similar approach to reading the bible. Like today’s verses:
Luke 14:12-14 Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Taken literally I would never ask my friends or family again. Which is nuts. It would also be a dis-service to the lord in parking my brain at the airport. Which makes it a dis-service to me as well. And it makes it a dis-service to all of us who talk about this wonderful saviour we have. That we want others to hear about. Through our lives and our stories.
This story happened yesterday.
We did not have a luncheon or a dinner, we had a breakfast. A chunk of our family getting together over a plate and a cuppa. Two wee ones there. One just four weeks old, the other just gone three years old. Breakfast for me followed by seeing a chunk of god’s family in church later. Breakfast for the rest followed by doing family things and feeding the baby. Who has become a fixture on his mother’s chest (and complains bitterly – as all babies do – when unhappy).
But something changed my expected day. The three year old has not been himself. Obvious changes to family life accepted, the occasional sniffle acknowledged, normal living included … he has still not been himself despite all of that. And inside me – intuitively, sensory, at a deep level – the words: “Duvet Day” came to me. A three year old? We don’t do duvet days for three year olds. They don’t need them. But this wee man through the lord was calling out “Duvet Day”.
To cut a long story short – mum and dad reluctantly agreed, a duvet day followed, and our wee grandson spent the day chilling.
And around church time, I was sitting playing my guitar for him. “Silent Night”. A carol instead of the usual nursery rhymes he loves. I have no idea why I was playing a carol. And just the first verse (I don’t know the others). Over and over. Gently and tenderly. And this wee chap slid from standing near me to sitting on the floor, and after a while gently flopped over to his side, gently onto his back, and his eyes – very delicately – closed. And he slept.
He has never done that before.
I was so moved I couldn’t keep singing. Choked up. Just strumming quietly in awe and wonder. Overcome with a knowing. Knowing that the lord was all around. Right there. With so much love. So much tenderness. So much care. The room was thick with love. And the thought came to me: “When two or three are gathered together in my name …”
(you have a great brain: all the different levels pinging away – connecting diferent threads – connecting your own dots)
The lord changed my plans yesterday. I did not get to his house. He came to ours instead. That is my wonderful saviour.
These are the stories I want to share.