January 24th, 2007

Ten Virgins Parable by Cornelius

Moses, like Megan?

Today Maria and I studied John chapter 6, the feeding of the 5,000. It was a passage I was very familiar with, but our study gave it a fresh spin. We focused on Andrew. Andrew heard when Jesus asked Philip where they were going to get food for the crowd of people, and then went off to find something, anything to give to Jesus to use.

He came back with a little boy's obento box of fish and bread, said Maria!^^ Ahh, obento...

Further, wouldn't Andrew have felt rather embarrassed to offer such a measly collection of snacks to Jesus to use? If I were Andrew, I know I would be asking myself, "Is that the best you could do?! If it is, then you might as well not even bother giving it to him..." Still, this humble little offering, given with an attitude of faith and effort, was used to feed that large crowd of people.

"Well," Maria asked, "What are your fish and loaves?"

That's the problem, you know. What can I do? Sometimes I don't think it is even worth me getting involved... I don't think I have anything to offer. Look at me, I am sheepish, anxious, uncomfortable in making decisions, and constantly busy-minded. All right, I will study the Bible and do my best to develop self-control, but I don't think I can help others or exemplify the character of God. Maybe later? Somehow, when I am a better or a stronger person?

In other words, I feel like Moses!
Like God picked the wrong person to do His work.

But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"...[God encourages Moses]...

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"...[God explains exactly what Moses is to do]...

Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"...[God gives him two miraculous signs to show the people]...

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." [God tells Moses He will help Him]...

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

This sounds like the kind of conversation I would have (if I didn't run away first)^^
I am doubtful because I am only looking at myself and what I don't have to offer. Of course I cannot do God's work on my own. This is the point. Andrew didn't take the obento box and feed the 5,000 all by himself!

This is a part of what faith is. Faith is not believing in what I can do FOR God, but what God can do together WITH me. It isn't manipulation either. Jesus didn't order Andrew out to collect food and then grab it from him. Instead, it is all about the relationship we have with God. He came to dwell among men during the years of the Tabernacle and the Temple, and at the moment Jesus died, the curtain which separated the main temple from the Holy space tore in two. The blood of Christ and His resurrection mean forgiveness, reconciliation, and a new life. God now dwells with His people through His Holy Spirit and will someday establish His kingdom on earth to remain without ceasing.

As I am studying God's word, I am coming to realize how loving God is. He guides as a Good Shepherd, keeping the flock from 'vulnerability and harm' (Matthew 9:36). After the rebellious and selfish lose all and sink into hopelessness, He welcomes them home with 'open arms and a party' (Luke 15:11). I never quite appreciated just how much God delights in those who approach Him! So, I shouldn't be ashamed with my obento box.

I should offer it up humbly and watch it turn into a delicious spiritual feast! :D

Ah, if I had faith the size of even a mustard seed!

Early in the morning.

I am not a morning person, and yet, my favorite time of day is dawn.

Ok, I love sleeping in, but it leaves me feeling groggy as well as angry at the sunlight that wakes me up! And so, I am setting a plan into action. In this plan, I will wake up early and get to bed in decent time. Sounds challenging!

So far this week, I woke up at 7:00 two mornings. Also, I woke up at 10:00 am one morning. Ok, ok, I give in. Last night I played Rome for six hours straight. Very disgusting :p Especially considering that Numidia owned me terribly. Dimmidi is the bane of this campaign. Well, I got their four-star general, but it took me a whole army to do it... My poor, poor men of Scipio!

Anyway, getting back to the plan. It all started Tuesday when I went to work. I woke up early and walked to work. It was a chilly morning, so I was bundled up in a warm coat. As it turns out, McKeldin Library was closed, but I didn't mind. I sat on a stone bench outside and watched the sunrise. The edge of the horizon above the Lee Building was burnt orange like flames rising over the hills. The bare trees were still, all except for the tops, which swayed back and forth in the upper breezes. Little sparrows were hopping on top of the ice-crusted snow and someone had built a small snowman and set it beside the testudo.

It's been a long time since I have been that still and felt that calm. I decided that it is important to take time from my busy schedule for this. People say that serenity makes a big difference, but I never believed them.

Somehow, I think waking up early is going to be worth it.
Psalm 5:3 [speaking] Psalm 143:8 [listening]

PS - I have the best roommate ever! She just bought me fresh Korean mochi for no apparent reason! *^__^*