June 23, 2012

Proper 7

Filed under: Lectionary — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 8:52 am

One of my absolute favorite stories from my early childhood is What Will Little Bear Wear? by Else Homelund Minarik. As adorably as Maurice Sendak portrays Little Bear himself, it is Mother Bear’s gentle humor and wisdom that engage me.

Little Bear wakes up one morning to find the world deep in snow. Eyes wide with wonder and excitement, he can’t wait to get out there! But first he asks his mother for something warm to put on. He heads outside, but is still cold. Another three or four trips inside for more warm clothes, and he’s still cold. Would he like a fur coat? Yes! That would be perfect. His mother then proceeds to remove his coat, his hat, his boots, and his snow pants. A delighted Little Bear goes back outside, where he plays for hours in his luxurious fur coat.

In various ways and in various voices, our lectionary readings for this week challenge us with the truth that God has given us, this day, that which we need to be fully ourselves.

Are you comfortable with that truth? Are you the type who takes a deep breath and says, “Well, that may be Goliath, and I only have a slingshot and a few rocks, but one well-placed hit is all it takes and anything else is overkill anyway.”?

Or do you prepare for the worst and hope for the best? Do you save for your children’s or grandchildren’s education, prepare for retirement, sign a will, get regular check-ups, and change your oil on schedule?

Do you bundle up against what you see, or do you trust in the warmth of your inborn fur?

The reality, of course, is both/and. We do take a responsible course in life, even knowing that life is unpredictable. We are all at times called upon to fight the giant with a slingshot. We are buffeted by a storm. We feel like we’ve been hit all at once with every single one of Paul’s “great endurances”: afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, and hunger.

As persons of faith, we do know who it is that laid the foundation of the earth, who determined its measurements, who stretched the line upon it. We know on what its bases were sunk and who laid its cornerstone when the morning starts sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy. We know who shut the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb. But sometimes it’s hard to hear the voice that answers us out of the whirlwind.

Sometimes we have to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that we are precious, created in God’s image; with discerning hearts and minds we will not be lead into a place we are not equipped to go.

Fish cannot drown in water, birds cannot sink in air, gold cannot perish in the refiner’s fire. This has God given to all creatures: to foster and seek their own nature.

(Mechthild of Magdeburg, 13th Century)

And therein lies the grace: Fish don’t drown in water. They are, however, excellent swimmers.


1 Comment »

  1. Sometimes we forgtet the abvious. This is a wonderful eye opener. We all have value and how we accept is important. We need to learn to let go.
    Open our hearts to the Lord

    Comment by LESLIE B COOK — June 24, 2012 @ 10:30 pm |Reply

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