This morning, sunlight shone through the gap between the curtain and the window, and the fine fringe cast a shadow on the window sill. Only, my curtains don’t have fringe. On closer inspection, the layer of cat hair hanging from the hem came into focus. My cats, Sarge and Gomer, go in and out of the window under this curtain, and they shed their hair as they do.
…the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light… (Paul’s instruction, as recorded in Romans 13:12).
This verse tells us to cast off, remove, put aside, get rid of, stop doing, renounce, or throw off (depending on your Bible version) things that belong to darkness. At night, you can’t see the ‘fringe’ on the curtains. But when exposed to the light, it becomes obvious that it is not a part of the curtain and needs to be removed. As our attitudes, behaviors, and words are exposed to the Light of Truth, we need to shed those that do not belong as quickly as they are exposed.
Eddie Perez was an incredible ballplayer. He could hit a single to advance runners or hit grand slams to clear the bases. More impressive than his hitting, though, was his catching. He was the NLCS MVP in 1999. Greg Maddux was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, and Perez caught more games for Maddux than any other catcher. His catching allowed Maddux to consistently post low ERAs. In September of 1995, when Eddie was called up to the big leagues, catchers O’Brien and Lopez and coach Pat Corrales told him, “This guy [Maddux] is smart. Whatever he wants to do, let him do it.” Eddie listened, and about forty days later, he was the owner of a World Series Championship ring. He was behind the plate learning from Maddux for 121 career games. He knelt behind home plate for ten years in the majors, supporting Hall of Fame pitchers and throwing out Hall of Fame opposing team runners.
Before a recent Atlanta Braves game, I watched Bullpen Coach Eddie Perez warming up with Christian Bethancourt. I can imagine the advice that Perez can offer to Bethancourt, who was born the year Perez was beginning his fifth year in the minor leagues. Perez is now the teacher, because he listened and learned.
The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. (The words of Jesus as recorded by Luke.)
There are people who have knelt before Jesus much longer than we have. We have the opportunity to catch what they know. We have the opportunity to listen and learn, and in time, be like our Teacher.
There are seven “Woe to you” statements in Matthew 23. Jesus was warning the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees not to focus on outward things. Of the ten trees we had removed from our property this week, we knew that one was damaged. An arborist saw the spot where it had been hit by lightning. We hadn’t seen it. Other than that one spot, the tree looked healthy. When it was cut down, we realized how unhealthy it really was on the inside.
The tree was empty in the center. It looked okay on the outside, but it took all of its energy to produce what we saw externally. It had nothing inside, and one storm could have taken it down. If you spend all of your energy and resources on what people see externally, don’t be surprised if a storm takes you out. Jesus defined hypocrisy as “everything they do is done for people to see” (Matthew 23:5a). He encouraged us to work on what was inside, and then what is on the outside will be good as well.
We had some sweet gum trees removed from our property today. When I saw this one, it was apparent that it originated as not one, but two trees. At some point, the two became one.
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (The words of Jesus as recorded in Mark 10.)
From the outside, it looked like one tree. On the inside, there was a line of bark delineating where the two trees used to be separate. This picture of a tree is a picture of marriage. Though we begin completely separate lives, we are united by God in a way that we become inseparable.
For several years, I blogged here about creative communication in the church. I enjoyed blogging about ideas that fit into that box, but anyone who knows me knows that I don’t fit well into any box. I’ve worked with communications in the local church. I teach communications (and other classes) to college business majors. I write. As a student, a teacher, and a pastor, I continue to be passionate about communications. However, the thing I most want to communicate is bigger than any of that. I’d like to communicate how God wants to show himself to us. I see him in everything, and I’d like to use this blog to occasionally share a few of the ways that he shows himself to me.
God has changed my mind. He is the source of right thoughts. He is the source of creative thoughts.
Right Thoughts + Creative Thoughts = Right Brained Thoughts