Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When Pedestals Crumble

When Pedestals Crumble

I have both put people on pedestals and sat upon them myself, placed there by others.  We fashion pedestals and their human idols much in the same way the Israelites fashioned their golden calves; we gather our hopes, dreams, hurts and expectations like so many golden baubles and meld them together to form a high place of worship.  Then we bow down.  

When the noise of the crumbling reaches us in our prostration, we are confused and hurt, scared and questioning.  As we watch our pedestals crumble, the simply human, mortal beings we placed there toppling down, we are wracked with disappointment, fear, and confusion.  We have a choice in that moment of pain.  We can gather the pieces and use them to create a replacement idol of bitterness, or we can turn to Jesus to meet whatever need we were demanding be met by a mere mortal.  If we are the one falling through the air, having been exalted by another person, we may rejoice on the way down as we are reminded with a crash that we are limited, imperfect servants of the Most High God.  He has never ruled upon a pedestal; He reigns upon an eternal throne that cannot be shaken and will never crumble.  

All of us, mentored or mentoring, served or serving, loved or loving, are simply imperfect mortals in need of grace. Are you bowed before a throne or a pedestal today?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Ever Fruit

The tree had never borne fruit in all its years.  It stood aloof, apart, somehow distant from other apple trees on the farm.  Older trees with trunks made gnarly by storms and age stood stooping, heavy with so much fruit each year that harvesters grew weary collecting it all.  But this tree, the barren one,  stood young and tall, its bark smooth, proud, and unblemished.  As if it did not really see the value in bearing fruit anyhow.

But today, this day of all days, like the bursting forth of sunrise over a shadowed valley, its branches hung low with massive, red, juicy apples.  Its first ever fruit.  

Some would say my Uncle the Eccentric One never bore fruit in all his years.  Some would call him aloof, apart, somehow distant from his siblings.  Others would receive accolades for their life-fruit over the years, wearying the hearers with their accomplishments.  But my Uncle, the Quiet One, remained obstinate and proud in his barrenness.  As if he did not really see the value in accolades anyhow.

But today, as we lay him to rest on that quiet sun-dappled hillside overlooking his farm, we harvested fruit.  In quiet voices made low by sorrow and loss we remembered.  We recognized.  We collected stories like first-ever apples growing on a young and tall tree.  

Does the timing of the fruit bearing make the fruit less sweet, less valuable?