This has been a strange year. A faith journey that has brought me to my knees emotionally, physically and spiritually in so many ways that I have lost track of all the steps backwards compared to the few steps forward. Yet – despite it all – I am right where God wants me to be – in a temporary shelter, on my knees, looking up at the stars and in awe.
My son encouraged me to start a blog back in 2011. A blog that I largely ignored until November of last year, when I started writing an Advent series about things I had been reading. It was a year when my “vessel” was weakened and holes had appeared in the “shelter” around me. Retired. Moved to a new state. Marital discord. Arguments. Tears. Separation. New job. Church-less. Loneliness. Fear. When I lay down at night, I felt the stress cracks in my vessel and saw the darkness through the gaping holes of my ceiling. The evil one whispered to my fears and smiled.
“In that day ‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be . . . ’ ” — Amos 9:11
What I didn’t realize was…only broken things can be filled – – – only destroyed shelters can be strongly re-built. It was the beginning of a search for the new me that was starting this new life. After all, it is only holes in the ceiling that allow the light of the stars and the moon rays to light the way through the night. And yet – amid all of the surface issues – the inner core of the vessel was being shaped. A shape that I didn’t recognize and had never seen. Yet, as I buried my tears and uneasiness into the WORD, the shape crystallized and was made whole.
A book here. A book there. Lots of reading on-line. Listening to many different rabbinical and christian perspectives. Sharing thoughts with other like-minded students of the Christus. A step forward and twenty back. The vessel began to be made new while a new foundation was laid for my shelter. This summer, illness tried to crack the vessel once more with fears and doubts. Yet, the vessel didn’t crack. Instead, the search expanded and walls began to be erected. Faith, although not as big as a mustard seed, began to grow larger. Not a genetically modified seed, but a spiritually enhance seed created by the Trinity. Found a church based on the WORD. Started a new series on the commandments. The vessel began to shine. Reassured continually by Jehovah-Raah, that the shelter was being erected on a sturdy foundation. Sukkot for the christian child in a far away country was being completed.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Ex 20:17
Coveting is what, I think, humans do best. We look at a new house and wish it was ours. Look at the old boyfriend/girlfriend and daydream how perfect it could have been. Look at the co-worker, have a few drinks and think those thoughts no one wants to admit to thinking. Tractor. Car. Talents. Abilities. Jobs. Bank accounts. It all describes us at our worst, and God saw it and loved us anyway. That’s why He set the laws in stone and then sent His son, Jesus to show us how it could be done. In John 7:2-24, even Jesus’s disciples coveted. During Sukkot of that year, they tried to talk Jesus into doing what they wanted. “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” Jn 7:4. They coveted acknowledgement for having the greatest rabbi. They wanted status that they thought was due to them.
The 10 commandments are there for us. Jesus abided by these laws, and all the other 603 commandments recognized in Jewish wisdom. He did not always abide by the religious laws, but He upheld His Father’s laws. His words echoed them over and over. Somehow – I think that if Rabbi Yeshua thought they were important enough to follow, then I probably would be wise to follow them as well.