Monday, January 28, 2013
Friends of Faith:
Smelling roses in January may seem a little odd, but that is why I love snow and ice days, because it allows me an opportunity to STOP for more than just an hour at church. The ice yesterday, gave me an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” to stay home, to rest and to enjoy a day of relaxation.
“Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”—for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” Neh 8: 8-10
But doesn’t it seem sad that we have to be “forced” to slow down, to do nothing, to stay home—to keep holy the Sabbath—not just one hour that I would have designated for church, but the entire day. Is history repeating itself “for the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law?”
Was I saddened because my plans for Sunday were cancelled, and I HAD to “rest” on the Sabbath? Did I regret that church might be cancelled and I might not be able to spend time in a place of worship? Or was I frustrated or regretful because I realized the “law”—God’s law-- was going to be carried out without my control, beyond my control, and in HIS control –with an ice storm.
I personally felt true joy when Stan said it was still possible to go to church and I rejoiced because I was blessed to be able to dine with Jesus in receiving the Eucharist. Not only did I have the opportunity to spend time in the rose garden, but I was able to smell the roses in rest for the entire day.
Because everything in the secular world was cancelled or postponed I felt a sense of peace that I did not even have to make a choice that I could just spend the day as it was originally intended when God created it—in rest, relaxation and quiet.
The saying “stop and smell the roses” always reminds me that there is something more than the busy stuff that I often find myself doing. It is a reminder for me to become Mary instead of Martha, (Lk 10: 38-42) to look around me for the “better part,” the creations of God, that I have put aside or missed because I have on blinders, I am “too” busy, and I have become desensitized to God’s purpose for me.
Yesterday was an opportunity to slow down long enough to find “the better part,” to “check” my attitude, my “values,” and my “priorities” for what is and what should be truly important.
So, how has the culture desensitized all of us to the original purpose of the day of rest? And beyond that how has the culture desensitized us to all of God’s purpose for us?
Has Sunday, the Lord’s day, become just another day to rush, to do, and to achieve something? Am I going so fast that I don’t have time to slow down for one day, yet alone one hour of one day?
And I think of someone who is in pain, who is suffering for any reason. Is that pain blinding them, or is the pain instead creating for them an opportunity to turn back to God, to grow, and to change? Is there a “silver lining,” a “rose” in nature, in what God proclaims for our Sundays, our today, and our every day?
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. …. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah…. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. …. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk 4: 14-21
Heavenly Father, Your Spirit and glory has created roses in every corner of the world. Open my eyes to see them and my ears to hear you. Help me to take the time to smell them and feel the joy they are intended to produce in my life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity for a day off, to rest and to see beyond this hectic world. Amen.
Is time rushing past you? Are you seeing and feeling thorns instead of flowers? When was the last time you truly “stopped” to smell the roses?
The roses of God are true and beautiful. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,