Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Circumcision of the Heart.
It's not so much that I'm dense; I just don't think in straight lines. I'm not sequential. Sad to say it never once occurred to me to ask, Why? Why this way, God? I just accepted the random directions & leadings of the Holy Spirit. Rather like doing a jig~saw I always think. You have all these various coloured bits & some straight edges & some joined together bits & you know what the finished picture should look like [more or less] but meanwhile you sit staring at the funny shapes that don't seem to fit anywhere at all [did someone muddle this puzzle up with another?], scowling at the bit that should fit but won't, moving other bits round 'cause maybe upside down is better ~ or sideways, even back~to~front starts looking more feasible than what you've got.
So some years ago now God started leaning on me with Romans 12:2 [And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.] He lent hard. OK. I'm a visual. I'm the kid that read jam jar labels & the adds on trains for wont of anything else & sad to say, over the years, I've not been very discriminatory about what went into my head. Do we get to jettison the trash at some point? So I got this one. I started self~censoring my reading material ~ & believe me this is no easy task because I still read whatever happens to be in my line of vision no matter what it is! It's why I have so much trouble in church. Always have, probably always will. I get distracted by what I can see. Oh, I can sit still. I can bob up & down in all the right places. I can make the right responses & sing along as need be but I would hardly call what I do worship. The old mind is off on a whole 'nother tangent. Like, wow, what a really ugly shade of orange that woman's dress is. What was she thinking?...Cute kid....Look at those shoes! How can she walk in them? Toupee ~ or not toupee? Doesn't she get giddy dancing around like that? Gosh! What if she falls over? Bring the whole show to a crashing standstill....& so my thought thunder & crash for the entire hour. No wonder I shut my eyes & shut the whole circus out. No wonder I like silent worship. It's such a relief!!!!
Which brings me, albeit in a very round~about fashion, back to the Sabbath, back to the festivals & somewhere along the way the ol' penny dropped & I felt it hit bottom because I am tired of hearing, "God looks on the heart" to justify things I'm pretty certain God don't approve of. I'm tired of hearing Grace ~ without accountability. I'm just tired of the free~for~all ~one~size~fits~all~God~loves~you version of Christianity because we are priests....priests! The Spirit in us is all that stays God's hand because for the sake of one righteous man God spared Zoar ~ & we are made righteous through Christ.
....Coming back to the point. So. I was looking at the Sabbath & it struck me how observing, learning, from these OT traditions is renewing my mind. They are training me to keep God at the centre of my entire life. This is not theoretical. This is not vaguely wishy~washy wishful thinking as I so often hear from Christians. This is practical, step by step application. The Hebrew names for the days of the week are a good example ~ & very Quakerish, which makes me giggle: Yom Reeshone [first day ~ from the Sabbath], Yom Shaynee [2nd day ~ from the Sabbath] ~ & so on. The entire week revolves around the Sabbath, thus continually bringing one's mind, & thus one's heart, back to the idea of worship. From Wednesday on the preparations for keeping the Sabbath are well under way because there is a good deal of preparation ~ which I am faaaar too lazy to engage in though if you are a hands on learner ~ perfect! Sunday through Tuesday is time to reflect on the last Sabbath; Wednesday on one is planning & thinking forward to the new Sabbath. The Sabbath is for rest. It is for family & celebration & the worship of God ~ & the end result is the circumcision of the heart, the removing of the heart of stone for God's heart of flesh. God has not left us to founder haphazardly towards His truth. He has not left us to rely haphazardly on man~made institutions of State & Church. He's shown us! Here are the tools, He says, Use these.
And having said all that we are not keeping the Sabbath this week. I am taking Star into a rehearsal because the child is spending Saturday workshopping with the King's Singers. [sigh] My heart might be in the right place but my obedience isn't. Not this week. Good thing we are not bound Ixion like to the wheel of the Law. Just the same I am sad. There is such peace & anticipation ~ & Blessing ~ that comes from walking in the God ordained ways.