That morning, Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, April 13, 2017
In an upper room
twelve men arranged themselves
around a table
each jostling for the prime spot
next to their teacher, master, messiah
or whatever he thought himself to be.
Each within arm’s reach
and none out of sight or sound
yet each wanting his way
nudging others all around.
Jay Cee looked up
and with angry eyes
and scolding them all
said, “Shut up, you dimwits, nitwits, dumbshits all!”
Then saying grace, he thanked the Lord
he’d be gone before the dawn
and his misery would be history
and o’er his corpse
they could forever fawn.
I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot. Psalm 31:12
There is an ancient tale told of a woman who carried her water jar down the mountain from her home to the river below. Every day she made trip after trip, filling her jar with water, trekking up the mountain to pour its diminished contents into the family water barrel. I say “diminished” because her jar was old and had a significant crack along one side, so water continuously dribbled out of the jug as she trudged. It was almost as if the vessel was weeping over the pain of her journey.
The woman was poor; she never lost her smile, even though that she had to make at least two trips for every one her neighbors made, for along the path grew the most beautiful flowers, whose very existence was made possible by the daily watering they received from her leaky cauldron.
I grew up in a family where not much was thrown away. When something broke and couldn’t be fixed, dad would take it apart and toss the nuts and bolts, washers and spacers, and every salvageable part (defining “salvageable” very loosely) into jars or drawers for some unanticipated future draw.
I can remember on more than one occasion where he would need a screw or bolt to replace one that one of our family treasures had lost, and he would spend what seemed like hours rummaging through his “junk drawer” picking out those threaded devils, looking over each one like a jeweler studying fresh diamonds. He would examine them for length, thread count, quality of the head, suitability for service and, when finally finding the exact part he’d been searching for, he would walk it over to his bench and restore whatever he’d been working on to some sort of functional condition.
Like my father, I got into the habit of taking things apart when they no longer worked. I’m not sure why, as I was never much of a tinkerer. If something doesn’t work, I’ll take a moment or two to troubleshoot the matter and after that, it’s off to the store to find a replacement.
For some, that would seem quite wasteful, but I am a tweener. I grew up between the Great Depression generation where buying things new was often not an option, and this newest generation, where everything is replaced whether it works or not simply because the thought of using or having a hand-me-down is unthinkable, and something new is miles better than whatever came out last month, last year, or the last cycle of gizmo development.
In other words, I live in two worlds, neither of which is fully mine. I have gained skills at repair and renovation over the years, so I actually delight in fixing things. But I also like new stuff, so it doesn’t bother me to hand things off to “those less fortunate” and replace them with newer iterations.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate that there is no “right” way to approach life; to see that there are many right ways to do things. My father never regretted fixing a toaster. I’ve never regretted buying a toaster. Some things are repairable, and many things these days are not. That’s the nature of our world today, and I have learned (to paraphrase old Saint Paul) to be content with how things are.
Our jars may leak, but those leaks may be a blessing if we learn to look around our paths as we make our way through life. There is great delight in fixing that which was broken, but there is also joy in each new toy we obtain.
What I watch for most is my attitude. I need to avoid the desire to envy your pot, when mine works just fine. I need to avoid hoarding pots when my neighbor has none. And it’s OK to be a crackpot occasionally!
In the end, it seems to me that pots aren’t simply things we have, but a picture of what we are. We are God’s jars, and although we may acquire numerous cracks over the years, the earth is most colorfully blessed (to God’s delight) as we’re carried up and down life’s mountains, and I think that’s just fine in this, our valley.
Sunday of the Passion
Entering into Jerusalem
rode Jesus on an ass
to cheering throngs
of mindless groupies
who hoped and prayed
he was there to save the day.
But he did not.
He rode into town,
cleansed the temple,
pissed off the powers that be
that took him down
and lynched him up
and nailed him to a tree.
when he breathed his last
the mob then went away
and a couple dudes
hauled him down
and dressed for death
they laid him in a tomb
this man who not so long ago
was a child in Momma’s womb.
For three long nights he slept away
his corpse to feed decay
but then, surprise!
an empty tomb
and the start of a whole New Day!