#Carpediem — #Thursday is #Chocolate Day!

Starts innocently enough like this....
Starts innocently enough like this….

Made it to Thursday?  Of course you did!  If so far you’ve celebrated your profession (Monday), counted the ways to be thankful that it’s Tuesday, honored your fave bohemian—person and/or idea—(Wednesday), then you certainly deserve Thursday’s gig, which is…wait for it….

*****CHOCOLATE DAY!*****

IMG_20150205_134722806

One of my friends, knowing my penchant for celebrating the days of the work week by my choice of clothing in keeping with the day’s theme, asked if I wear brown on Thursday.  

“No”, said I, “I eat chocolate.”

(Granted, any reason for eating chocolate seems like a good reason.)

ENDS LIKE THIS....
ENDS LIKE THIS….

So celebrate it any way you like, but Thursday is the day to remember all those people/things/events that SWEETEN your life.   Who and/or what are you remembering today, in honor of Chocolate Day, that is…!! —-dawnlizjones

Advertisements

#carpediem — #Wednesday is #Bohemian Day!

Yea!  It’s Bohemian Day!

Wednesday isn’t just “hey-we-got-over-the-hump” day.  It’s a day to celebrate all those people that march to the beat of a different djembe.  Or to take time and relish those off the wall dreams and ideas, you know, like Orville and Wilbur’s flying machine.  A day to contemplate where we’d be without the courage of Tiananman Square or the creativity of a moving, talking, whistling mouse on the big silver screen.  Or that stupid idiot that stood out in the thunder and lightning flying a kite with a key attached (don’t try that one at home).

Here’s one.  For a Christmas present this year, my daughter Robin enrolled me in a really crazy idea dreamed up and administrated by a pretty fun person.  The crazy idea is called Hobby Club and is made up of an internet community of people who are introduced to a new hobby to try out every month.  The fun person in charge is the visionary of the project, Tyler Riewer, who chooses these new challenges each week to match the theme of the month.  February is deemed “The Old Fashioned Way”, and so far we’ve tried our hands to homemade butter, next is some way-out homemade brew that rivals a cure to the common cold (at least in taste, I expect),  and we will crown the month with backyard moonshine.  Knowing my less than stellar success with fermentation experiments, I probably should check the batteries in the smoke alarms….

Bohemians abound throughout history: people who imagined little bugs that couldn’t be seen, so they invented a microscope to prove their existance.  Or the guys who challenged the accepted, scientific “fact”  that if you sailed far enough you drop off the planet. Then, of course, there were those dreamer Orville and Wilbur–would you believe that originally they owned a bicycle repair shop?  So, thank you once again, Mr. Riewer, and I salute you as my bohemian this week!  My butter tasted, well, not quite entirely like butter, more like a palatable paste, but yummy nonetheless.

And equal salute to all the dreamers and visionaries and creative thinkers and doers.  You are worth celebrating every week!    ———-dawnlizjones

#Carpediem — T.G.I.T #Tuesday!

Thank God It’s Tuesday (a.k.a. TGIT)!  Reasons why it’s important to celebrate Tuesday:

  1. I made it through Monday. Not something to be taken for granted…
  2. Hmmm….okay, granted I’m having a little trouble with a second reason, but I just know it’s there somewhere.

Wednesday is celebrated as “hump day” since we’re getting over the hump on the downward slide to Friday, I guess.  Thursday is sooooo close to Friday, and Friday is, well, Friday.

Honestly, I do believe that it’s pretty bohemian, (which is Wednesday’s celebration, BTW), to celebrate Tuesday in its own right.  Poor Tuesday gets terribly neglected, but when considered in a decent perspective, it offers just as many blessings (albeit some disguised and in need of creative definition) as Friday.  Here’s how I celebrate Tuesdays (so far, but open to further suggestions):

I start of every Tuesday morning with an activity I genuinely look forward to—I sit down with my pot of steaming tea, and writing in a journal that is specifically for Tuesdays.  It doesn’t matter what the weather’s like, or how busy the day is about to become, or the number of things-I-don’t-want-to-do on my burgeoning to-do list. 

It’s 15 to 30 minutes of splashing around in the Fun Bucket before diving head first into the Work Bucket.  And very much worth celebrating.

Here’s to a carpe diem start to your Tuesday!—-dawnlizjones

 

#bohemian #Tuesday

#Carpediem — #Monday is #Professional Day!

My labcoat, but adorned with my father's old RCA pocket protector, circa 1960's.
My labcoat, but adorned with my father’s old RCA pocket protector, circa 1960’s.

Alarm goes off, hit the snooze button a half dozen times, pry the eyes open, and dump your dragging self into the shower.  Those of us who live out of two separate buckets (as explained in the Carpe Diem intro) know the routine.  Waking up after the second cup of java, we arrive at work feeling like there’s a mountain ahead of us and today is just the first step.  Whether the day planner is full or empty isn’t the point.  The point is that we would definitely prefer to be somewhere else.

This is where you have to grab the Monday-monster by the neck (to use a socially acceptable metaphor) by celebrating your profession—some way, any way! Creatively let the world know what you do and that what you do is of worth to the world.  And it helps to give yourself permission to be a little (or a lot) off the wall in the way you do it. 

Currently, I’m a public school nurse at a small town middle school.  I love my kids, my faculty, and it’s the best job I’ve EVER had, hands down.  But I still have emotional challenges—like if I had to choose between being in my office, or holding my new granddaughter,… c’mon.  So on Mondays I decided to wear a real nursing uniform instead of regular “non-medical” threads.  Not the white polyester we had back in 70’s with a little white cap (oh, puhLEEZE!!), but good old scrubs, and a white lab coat to complete the ensemble.  Interestingly, one of my students remarked, “Hey! You look like a nurse!”  (Why didn’t I think of this sooner??) 

Little things will do, too, even something that’s a bit of a secret just with you.  Employed at Mickie D’s? Tip your hat to every customer on Monday. (THAT will get your supervisor’s attention.)  A dentist?  Let your adult customers pick something out of the children’s “treasure chest”, just like when they were kids.  Stay-at-home mom (arguably one of the most challenging professions in the universe)?  Make Monday your “visit the nursing home day”.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t know anyone there; you soon will, and so will your children.  (Trust me on that one.)

When you hit the snooze button the last time, remember to celebrate Monday as “Professional Day”, and stir in a little fun  with the work bucket.

—dawnlizjones

#Snowstorms?? No worries…

pixabay
pixabay

July fourth!  Freedom Day!! I have been watching the hibiscus grow from the stems I was convinced were long dead from the winter freeze.  This past season we had a real blizzard; I mean, a blizzard as meteorologically defined by the National Weather Service.  Here in town it looked like about 18 inches of fluffy white fell from just this one storm; it was beautiful, but brutal.  The storm passed, the mountains of snow plowed from Walmart’s parking lot finally melted, and as the year progressed, I talked with some of my gardening friends at work when I noticed that my hibiscus wasn’t resurfacing.  Oh, they said, they always bring their hibiscus plants in for the winter season.  (Great. Now they tell me.) Their precious plants live securely in big pots that are easily transferable throughout the seasons.  Mine lives in the ground, or so I thought.  Sure, they continued, they turn a little yellow and lose a few leaves while inside, but they survive, which was currently more than I could confidently posit for my new little plant.

Yet another one bites the dust.

Winter eclipsed into spring, and I was about to dig up the place where my hibiscus lay in permanent repose, remove what was left, and make the area available for another try at…well, something.  But what I soon observed stayed my hand: I noticed small green shoots coming up from where the “dead” plant was. Over the next several days I watched, at first somewhat incredulously, then excitedly, as the shoots continued to defy the harsh winter blast by pushing up tenaciously toward the spring sunlight.  Soon, the shoots became as thick as my thumb, and eventually provided a harvest of hummingbird-tempting, bright red blossoms as big as my hand, all from the plant I thought was gone for good.

My experience with my hidden hibiscus, though at first disappointing but then elating, gives me pause in a few other areas:

  • Pastor Lawrence Wilson has said that a vision must first die for it to be properly resurrected. 18th century theologian Matthew Henry would seem to agree, and writes concerning the gospel of Christ, (but which can also be appropriately applied to any dream we have with God): “The good seed of the gospel sown in the world, and sown in the heart, both by degrees, produce wonderful effects, but without noise…so it is with the gospel, when it is sown, and received, as seed in good ground. It will come up; though it seem lost and buried under the clods, it will find or make its way through them.” (1)
  • How quickly I was ready to give up on my hibiscus! And what a waste if I had given up too early and dug up the plot just when it was working hard under the dirt getting ready to surprise me! And how quickly I can be to give up on more important dreams, or people, in my life.   
  • Many times God works silently, despite the harsh cold of evil in our circumstances; He works relentlessly, pushing through the painful shame that tries to hold us in seclusion. Consider: Paul gave up on John Mark; that’s the same Mark that went on to later write the second biography of Christ, thanks to his Uncle Barnabus’ kind intervention at the time. (2) God’s right-hand-man, Job, gave up on himself, until God put his circumstances in a higher perspective. (3) And God Himself seemed to be having second thoughts about this wayward group of vagabonds called Israel, and allowed Moses to “change” His mind. (4) In all three historic events, something that looked dead, like a dream, a relationship, even an eternity, made an amazing comeback. 

What disappointments do you have in your life—can you name one right now?  (Yeah, I know, probably more like ten or twenty.)  Have you given up on something, or someone?  If you have, then you’re actually in good company.  What hopes and dreams do you have for your family, your children, yourself?  What vision has been seemingly buried under a brutal life-blizzard?  You are invited to join the team.  Rest assured that we are being observed by “so great a cloud of witnesses” to rejoice as the fresh new shoots rise from the cold dirt.(5)  

The challenge, the invitation, is to commit to God the hopes and dreams that I hardly dare to recall, even after the blizzard abates. Patiently, may we let God’s timing have its way with the roots, and come spring, we may be surprised. 

Green will return!
Green will return!
  • Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible
  • Acts 15:36-39
  • Job 42:1-17
  • Exodus 32:11-14
  • Hebrews 12:1-2

#QuietTime In #NewYorkCity

(“…one of these things is not like the other….”)

I have noticed that if I am going to be outside in the garden, I must apply myself to the task of becoming “acclimated”.  Heat, sweat, cold, rain, bugs—they are all part of the “outside” experience, and I will make appropriate (and sometimes creative and/or humorous) adjustments and provisions according my level of commitment.

I have layered on the clothing to go out in the early pre-dawn hours, even before the birds wake up, when it’s only in the 40’s or so.  This means long johns (to preserve my heat) and steaming hot tea in a pump thermos (to preserve the tea’s heat).  I have used so much bug spray that I’m thankful I am no longer of childbearing age.  I have set up a fan in the corner of the patio and even purchased an adjustable umbrella for when it’s hot, and when that isn’t enough, can be seen festooning said umbrella with kitchen towels draped strategically to provide shade from the inconvenient angle of the sun.  There is just something healing and healthy for me when it comes to spending sizable quantities of time out of doors, and I consider it a bit of an adventure to finds ways to fulfill this need.

One weekend I was visiting my daughters in New York City. One of them had graciously found a studio apartment for myself and her sister, Jessica, who had flown in from Los Angeles. This delightful little domicile was located within one of the tiniest of NYC buildings, which means it was only seven or eight stories high. (In my town, the tallest building is maybe four stories, and is itself dwarfed only by the local grain elevator.) I was very thankful for the accommodations, and mildly amused that it was right next to a similar building that sported a huge “Hell’s Angels” sign outside—no one in their right mind would bother us that night!  At any rate, since Jessie is not a morning person, I was determined to find a slice of time to myself in the quiet of dawn.  But does such a thing exist in the “city that never sleeps?”  Early in the morning, my Bible and I found ourselves determinately mounting the several flights of stairs to the rooftop, a place, I have come to learn, which is frequented by the veteran city dwellers due to the lack of space elsewhere.  Sitting at a table that faced the Empire State Building, I could feel the occasional rumble of the subway far below, but even so the relative quiet and solitude was blissful.  That is, until it started to rain.  Not a typical Midwestern downpour, mind you, but a New York City drizzle, just enough to dampen my expectations, as well as my T-shirt.  Looking around for suitable protection (mostly for the book more than for myself), I found an old blanket and threw it over myself, just enough so I could stay up on that peaceful outdoor rooftop a few minutes longer. 

Creative resiliency is also an important aspect of our relationship with God.  When we embark on our journey with Christ, He forewarns us that a certain “acclimation” is to be expected:

  • The rumble of life under our feet, the sprinkles and downpours of sorrows and disappointments, are all part of staying in the game and embracing the identity that He provides. It is comforting to know that, regardless of how we feel, we are never alone in this adventure. There are those who have gone before us, and there are those who will experience the same things after us, and in it all, God has promised that He is with us, and will never, ever leave us alone. (1)
  • Sometimes it takes creativity to believe in what possible goodness lies beyond what we can presently see (it’s called faith), or creativity to imagine that God has options we are not even aware of (it’s called trust), or creativity to rearrange and manage our lifestyles to spend time just getting to know Him better so we can increase our faith and trust, (it’s called an alarm clock…) If anyone needs a little nudge of encouragement in this direction, check out the account of a guy named Gideon. (2)
  • We douse on the bug spray of wisdom and obedience which certainly makes us less attractive to the world’s ways, and sometimes doesn’t particularly smell so great to us either, at least at first sniff. This “world-repellant” comes in the form of doing what God says for us to do, (obedience is very activity oriented), and will probably afford us less popularity, less attention, but will also mean fewer uncomfortable bites! The sting of personal/spiritual/moral compromise is worth avoiding at all costs. (3)
  • Sometimes God even sends His angels in the most unusual and unexpected forms, like big bikers with tattoos (gotta love ‘em!) to ward off my would-be attackers, or an old cast-away blanket to protect God’s words and promises that have been written on the pages of my heart from smearing off in life’s rain. (4) 

Being outside isn’t always easy.  In Missouri, they say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change.  But it is well worth the effort to be surrounded by God’s creation, and even more so be surrounded by God’s graceful plan for our lives. 

So grab your cap, and your can of Deet, and let’s get going! 

  • Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 12:1,2
  • Judges 6 and 7 (One of my favorites!! I have to meet this guy in heaven!)
  • Proverbs 8:1-14
  • Proverbs 4:23, Hebrews 1:14 and Hebrews 2:1

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The early bird gets the….eewww! Really??

I tend to frequent my garden patio in the early morning.  I appreciate the quiet of my rural, small town setting, and I love to hear the birds wake up and start singing.  My husband and I are true bird-admirers.  Not real bird-watchers, mind you; the true Audubons are the ones that can confidently identify, say, a loggerhead shrike from a Northern shrike…and enjoy it.  But like my more learned comrades, I have fun actually seeing the birds I am hearing, and I’m learning them little by little,(with my color picture book close by), to recognize a few species, including by the music they make.   I have also learned that, generally speaking, to attract birds you must have a bird-attracting environment.  They are all around me, because I can hear them, even if I can’t immediately see them.  But to seriously bring them into view I must entice them with something they want.   

Many of my patio variety songsters are not particularly picky eaters, thankfully.  A fifty-pound bag from the local feed store does nicely, especially for sparrows and junkos and an occasional cowbird or catbird.  However, I have learned that certain species are encouraged to frequent my garden depending on what I choose to put out.  Cardinals like their black-oil sunflower seeds.  Finches love the seeds on my dry coneflowers.  Hummingbirds go for red. Downey woodpeckers prefer the suet in the hanging cage.   And grackles, well, I guess they eat anything, and a whole lot of it! 

What I also find noteworthy is how these fabulous creatures find their way to the food.  It is such a natural, unfeigned, unpretentious process.  The more I set out, the more they come around.  And even if I don’t get around to filling the feeders, and maybe there are only a few kernels just left lying around a pile of empty hulls, they still seem attracted to it, pushing through the junk to find the valuable seeds.  But the converse is also true.  No food, few birds.  For them to stay around in abundance, and close enough for thorough enjoyment and study, they must be welcomed and wanted, and they must be drawn.

With all respect, the Holy Spirit is a bit, just a bit mind you, the same way.  As we provide the proper enticements (like faith), and make Him feel welcome (like humility), He comes more into view, becomes easier to see, and His ways are easier to identify.  And why?  Because what God is interested in most is the environment of my heart:

  • He looks deep within my human soul, the real me, the sometimes (oft times) hidden me, and invites me to come and take a good look with Him, since most of us are not even fully aware of what’s really going on in there anyway. And though He sees the “me” in my entire self, and though He recognizes so much beauty that could be, yet He patiently waits and constrains Himself, for even God must be invited, welcomed and wanted. One of the Old Testament songwriters put it this way, “I sought Your favor with all my heart;
    Be gracious to me according to Your word…”
    (1)
  • Although God is everywhere at once, yet He makes it clear that we get His attention by a humble heart, and a prayer of faith, even if it’s just a little faith mixed with a whole bunch of questions. It’s an easy and common deception to think that we are too far gone, too messed up, or have too little faith for God work His wonderful restorative power in our lives. However, a little faith is still faith, a powerful entity in God’s kingdom, even if it’s mixed with a bunch of empty husks known as doubt and the used up hulls we call fear.  God is just powerful enough to dig through our questions and circumstances to find the little seeds of faith in our prayers and our lives, even when we ourselves aren’t aware of their existence. (2)
  • The proud heart, on the other hand, the one that says it does not need God, that refuses to agree with God’s assessment of the situation and His answer to the problem, (possibly because it refuses to acknowledge that there IS a problem), this heart the Holy Spirit grieves over, since there is nothing to bid Him welcome, nothing to make Him feel wanted. (3)

My early morning “patio compadres” make my garden more than just a quiet place to sip my tea while the rest of the town wakes up.  Not only do I love having them around for their beauty and song, but they are part of the very livelihood of my garden!  So does God’s Holy Spirit infuse His life into the garden of my life.  Every day is another opportunity to invite Him into my world, my mind, and circumstances, and my heart. 

Then I can sit back, and listen for His song.

  • Psalm 119:58
  • See Mark 9:24
  • See Psalm 51:17, James 4:6

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Life in the Recycled Bin

I love recycled things.  Most of my clothing is secondhand in some way.  Of course, when you have an inseam of 35”, it’s a little tough to find things at the mall like “normal” people do anyway.  That, plus the fact that frugality of budget is something I grew up with, so I turn to others’ castoffs to find my own brand of style. 

Here is my secondhand dog. IMG_20150220_160039564 His name is Buckley, the Mighty  Wonder Buck for short.  We found him at the local pound not long after he had been picked up and deposited there by the police.  He has nosed his way into our home and hearts.

This is a project from the Hobby Club that I’m a part of. IMG_20150222_071947978 Living in a small town, I do not have easy access to some of the different “ingredients” for the projects, so—that’s right.  Let’s find what I have and make it work!  (Or at least try it…!)  My NYC artist daughter made this cup as one of her first pottery projects in college.  Its newly recycled life is as a scented candle.

Quilting goes way back.  It’s a fine American artwork borne of necessity.  Why waste fabric if it could be turned into something useful for the family?  These two quilts have significance to me.  One is called the Crown of Thorns, quiltand the other is the Flying Goose pattern (my husband’s nickname is Goose.  Goes waaaayyy back.)IMG_20150131_120625791

I also have enjoyed making old-fashioned grandma booties.  Every scrap of yarn is recycled in some way.  Sometimes the yarn is “just leftovers”, sometimes it is unraveled from other projects that have been deemed damaged goods, excess baggage, or just no longer useful.  But they’re warm and fuzzy, like a nice hug for your feet. IMG_20150222_145722424_HDR

It’s all just a reminder that  this is exactly what Jesus does for us—taking what is otherwise damaged and despised, and turning it into something fabulous and functional.  So next time you feel your life is unraveling, trust it to the Master’s capable and creative hands!

And you might just get your socks blessed off!

Bring on the birds!

I tend to frequent my garden patio in the early morning, as will become repetitively apparent in subsequent entries.  I appreciate the quiet of my rural, small town setting. I love to hear the birds wake up and start singing.  I also enjoy actually seeing the birds I am hearing.  I’m learning them little by little, with my color picture book close by, to recognize a few species, including by the music they make.  My husband and I are true bird-admirers.  Not real bird-watchers, mind you; the true Audubons are the ones that can confidently identify, say, a loggerhead shrike from a Northern shrike…and enjoy it.   But I do, at least, like to be able to see those who are gracing my morning with their songs.  I have learned that, generally, to attract birds, you must have a bird-attracting environment.  They are all around me, because I can hear them, even if I can’t immediately see them.  But to seriously bring them into view I must entice them with something they want.

Many of my patio variety songsters are not particularly picky eaters, thankfully.  A fifty-pound bag from the local feed store does nicely, especially for sparrows and junkos and an occasional cowbird or catbird.  However, I have learned that certain species are encouraged to frequent my garden depending on what I choose to put out.  Cardinals like their black-oil sunflower seeds.  Finches love the seeds on my dry coneflowers.  Hummingbirds go for red. Downey woodpeckers prefer the suet in the hanging cage.   And grackles, well, I guess they eat anything, and a whole lot of it!

What I also find noteworthy is how these fabulous creatures find their way to the food.  It is such a natural, unfeigned, unpretentious process.  The more I set out, the more they come around.  And even if I don’t get around to filling the feeders, and maybe there are only a few kernels just left lying around a pile of empty hulls, they still seem attracted to it, pushing through the junk to find the valuable seeds.  But the converse is also true.  No food, few birds.  For them to stay around in abundance, and close enough for thorough enjoyment and study, they must be welcomed and wanted, and they must be drawn.

With all respect, the Holy Spirit is a bit, just a bit mind you, the same way.  As we provide the proper enticements (like faith), and make Him feel welcome (like humility), He comes more into view, becomes easier to see, and His ways are easier to identify.  And why?  Because what God is interested in most is the environment of my heart:

  • He looks deep within my human soul, the real me, the sometimes (oft times) hidden me, and invites me to come and take a good look with Him, since most of us are not even fully aware of what’s really going on in there anyway. And though He sees the “me” in my entire self, and though He recognizes so much beauty that could be, yet He patiently waits and constrains Himself, for even God must be invited, welcomed and wanted. One of the Old Testament songwriters put it this way, “I sought Your favor with all my heart;
    Be gracious to me according to Your word…” (1)
  • Although God is everywhere at once, yet He makes it clear that we get His attention by a humble heart, and a prayer of faith, even if it’s just a little faith mixed with a whole bunch of questions. It’s an easy and common deception to think that we are too far gone, too messed up, or have too little faith for God work His wonderful restorative power in our lives. A little faith is still faith, a powerful entity in God’s kingdom, even if it’s mixed with a bunch of empty husks known as doubt and the used up hulls we call fear.  God is just powerful enough to dig through our questions and circumstances to find the little seeds of faith in our prayers and our lives, even when we ourselves aren’t aware of their existence. (2)
  • The proud heart, on the other hand, the one that says it does not need God, that refuses to agree with God’s assessment of the situation and His answer to the problem, (possibly because it refuses to acknowledge that there IS a problem), this heart the Holy Spirit grieves over, since there is nothing to bid Him welcome, nothing to make Him feel wanted. (3)

My early morning “patio compadres” make my garden more than just a quiet place to sip my tea while the rest of the town wakes up.  Not only do I love having them around for their beauty and song, but they are part of the very livelihood of my garden!  So does God’s Holy Spirit infuse His life into the garden of my life.  Every day is another opportunity to invite Him into my world, my mind, and circumstances, and my heart.

Then I can sit back, and listen for His song.

  • Psalm 119:58
  • See Mark 9:24
  • See Psalm 51:17, James 4:6

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Blood…or bleach??

IMG_20150220_171937823

Bleach.  I grew up with the fragrance.  It reminds me of my grandmother’s house.  I use it occasionally at home, and frequently at work it to decontaminate and “bathe” my CPR manikins.  And,yes, it stains, believe me, I know.  But then I’ve also had to deal with blood stains, oil stains, etc. It’s a really good thing that I’m into second hand clothes.  I don’t actually deserve new clothing.  In my line of work (school nurse) and with my lifestyle (somewhat sloppy), I’m just too hard on them, and they would worry me too much.

I think I’m in good company.  I’m currently reading the part of the Old Testament where Moses is setting up his brother Aaron and sons with the very solemn and important priesthood for the wandering nation of Israel.  This is a really big deal.  All kinds of preparations and sacrifices have been made exactly to God’s specifications; there have been many kinds of talents involved here: metal workers, artists, seamstresses, carpenters, and the list goes on.  For these new priests, beautiful clothes have been painstakingly designed and created (no sewing machines back then…OH! the things I take for granted!)

Then the ceremony begins, and I pick it up here, (and I quote):

“So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.”  (Leviticus 8:30)

OIL??  BLOOD?? Do you know how hard it is to clean oil and blood out of clothing? Even with our fancy 21st century chemistry, oil and blood are still high on the list of nasty stain-makers.  I can just hear Mrs. Aaron now.  “Aw, c’mon, guys.  I just finished that tunic.  Those men can never keep anything clean!”

Interestingly, it wasn’t the beauty of the garment that made them special. It may have been the high quality linen, the color and stitching of the embroidery, and the mastery of the craftsmanship that went into all of it that made it beautiful.  But it was the oil and the blood that made it holy.

I like the fact that the word holy comes from a root word meaning “whole”.  So holy includes the concept of the whole picture, the entire situation, even an eternal outcome.  It also adds the idea of wholeness to the motive, and the internal configuration of the person involved.  Holiness denotes a shift in the spiritual DNA producing a wholeness otherwise unaccounted for.  It causes a willingness to get dirty with humanity on God’s level, and not merely my own.

Take home lesson for me: even my finest “clothing”, that is, the things I wrap around my identity like projects, character traits, even relationships, must be “stained” with the oil of the Holy Spirit’s anointing, and the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice to be acceptable to God, or in other words, holy.

Otherwise, they’re just pretty clothes that will soon become stained by the effects of the world at large.  Kinda like my bleach….

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.