Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flotsam

80. Praise the Lord, my knees are better. Not well, not even good, but they are better today than they were yesterday and it has been a long time since I could say that. Usually what is wrong with my knees is swelling. This time that has not been the main problem -- it's like the bones are locking or sticking in the joints, like there is nothing in there lubricating them. Sometimes I walk without bending my left knee because I know if I bend it there will be an awful sort of clunk as the bones move the way they need to move. Bruce has suggested a doctor, but I know what they know about rheumatoid arthritis: very little. They can offer me two things: pills or a knee replacement. I do not want the pills and while I think I'm headed toward a knee replacement, I don't want to go that route just yet. On the other hand, I don't want to be one of those pain-in-the-neck people who suffers (and makes everybody else suffer) when a trip to the doctor would fix her right up. (Well, in my case it would be surgery, but still.) ANYWAY -- I can tell that something is better and I'm SO happy and grateful!!! (Irene, I think it is because you are praying for my knees!)

81. Another sunny day. The pear trees and the redbuds are starting to bloom and it's definitely warming up a bit. I'll post pictures of some of the trees once they're at their peak. I would miss spring if I moved to Florida, for sure. Not that I wouldn't move in a heartbeat -- but spring in Alabama is a wonderful thing to experience. It's actually supposed to get up to 77 on Thursday (although the high on Sunday is forecast to be just 66).

I've stopped reading Job as a part of my daily Bible reading because I was so clueless about it. I've read through chapter two in the Soncino commentary: the next part is where Job starts talking and then his friends reply. In other words, the parts I was not understanding. What I am doing is reading the chapter in the ESV, reading it in the English translation of the Hebrew Bible, and then reading the commentary portion. So eventually I'll read the entire book -- it will just take me a little while. It's not something I can plow through, needless to say.

Today, though, I read II Corinthians 5 as a part of my daily reading. I was especially drawn to this section, beginning in verse 18: "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

There is a lot here. The obvious parts (I think) are two: that God provided a way in which we might be reconciled to Him (through Christ, of course), and the evangelism charge, which Paul fulfills at the end. But what I was really thinking more about was the expression "the ministry of reconciliation." I started thinking about what "reconcile" means.

First, because I am an accountant at heart, I think of reconciling a bank statement. All that means is explaining the differences between what the bank says my balance is and what my records show the balance to be. Reconciliation is important because mistakes can be made and they will be uncovered and corrected during this process.

There are "reconciliation commissions" that are charged with uncovering past wrongdoings (usually by governments) with the goal of reconciling the citizens with the state -- resolving past conflicts. For example, in Chile the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigated the deaths and disappearances that occurred during Pinochet's regime.

In Christian theology reconciliation refers to the results of atonement: God's wrath is satisfied and our sins are paid for so those elements which caused the gulf between God and us are removed.

There is the political process of reconciliation, but as with so many things having to do with government the term as used by the House and Senate has little to do with any normal definition of the process (it's a budget resolution), so we'll ignore that.

One of the dictionary definitions is "the process of making consistent or compatible." And I guess what I'm thinking about is that reconciliation is a process. As Christians we attain the results of the process in an instant -- when we believe -- but there was a lot that went into getting us to that point. When we think of an estranged husband and wife "reconciling," nobody thinks, "Well, that's good, they're back together. That's over with." Most people understand that the work has really only just begun. So when we are reconciled to God, there is still more to be done. We don't just say, "Whew -- that's over with" and go on living our lives the way we want to live them. If we do that, we demean the whole idea of reconciliation. If reconciliation really means something we will show it in how we live our lives.

If I am supposed to be an ambassador and my message is one of reconciliation, shouldn't that be the message for every area of my life? When someone does something mean or stupid, should I not filter my response through the idea of reconciliation?

How often do I get impatient with people instead of remembering the patience that God displays toward me? (Often.) How often do I start to think highly of myself rather than remembering that God incarnate washed the disciples' feet? (Often.) The whole idea of reconciliation conjures up images of peace -- shouldn't I live my life by attempting to "live peaceably with all"? Because any wrongs that anyone does to me are minuscule when compared with the wrongs that I have done to God and for which He has forgiven me.

Easy to say, hard to accomplish.

Okay -- I took my own advice and am reading Persuasion by Jane Austen. My second-favorite Austen and it contains my favorite love scene (sigh). I am always amazed by Austen's wit and humor. And one of my 101 goals in 1001 days is to re-read all of Austen's works. Plus, I have to get that horrible book (Winter's Bone) out of my head.

Off to lie in the sun!

More later...

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