We leave for a week’s holiday in Turkey later this morning. My excitement levels always get me out of bed super-early. Which means my “weariness levels” always have me fast asleep super-early when we get there. I am fortunate that my wife loves me!
Tourism this year in Turkey is in free-fall. The Russians are giving Turkey a miss after a Russian warplane was shot down by a Turkish warplane. Television news of internal terrorism and bomb attacks has stopped a lot of European visitors from booking a holiday. And on Facebook, one of the waiters – in the resort we are staying – has already called this the “dead season” because there are so few tourists.
Famine comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is water. Sometimes it is tourists. Sometimes it is spiritual.
Dead seasons come in all shapes and sizes.
Last night someone asked me about these last few recent posts: was I okay?
What a lovely thing to be asked. Are you okay? But also a question that stopped me. What am I writing that might cause that question? How am I writing to cause that concern? What is the “me” and God in me that I am sharing?
So before I switch off the keyboard and we pick up our kindles …
As the daily lectionary verses head through The Sermon on the Mount, I feel our Lord and Father taking me aside. I see Him picking out fragments of His own words: His tone, His style, His tiny piece of His words – a tiny seed here – a discarded (by me) sweet wrapper there. That is precious relationship in our ever deepening relationship.
That is Love.
But love is not always “happy”. Love is not always “jolly”. Love can be very reflective. Love can be very deep. Love can be whatever love is in this moment. And love is also honest. With affection. With care. With timing. And these fragments and seeds – they are all of that.
This morning’s verses are:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ Matthew 6:25-34
I do not see the words “happy” or “jolly” here. But I do see us adding them: Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, you’ll bring everyone down. Be happy.
I am seeing us adding so much to God. To create our version of what we think God should have created – what God Himself should be. We love to improve on God. And in the “improving” a few unintended consequences come about.
THAT is what He is showing me in this “dead season”. That is what I am being gifted …
The “sweet wrappers” that I have discarded. The fragments that matter. Bits of words that matter. I am seeing that they are – in our discarding – the very reason we need to always be “perfecting perfection”.
I am seeing how I treat a lot of God as “unnecessary wrapping” – that I need to discard – in order to “find God”. And I am now seeing – in these fragments I discard – that will always leave me “gaps”. Gaps I fill. We all like to fill “gaps”. We were designed to fill gaps.
And I am seeing the dead season as an unintended consequence of our perfecting perfection – of us casually discarding these “sweet wrappers” – of us filling the gaps with our own imperfection.
Because the “unintended consequence” of that is … ?
A God we blame for NOT being perfect.
(See you in a week or so! Yay!!!!!)