Saturday, August 16, 2008

a stinger

I suppose I should have known better.

In my last post I mused about peace and panic, the lingering peace of summer as it begins to mix with the rising panic of all that must yet be done to launch the new academic/ministry year. I left the blog short ... so I could enjoy more of the summer's sabbath.

But truth be told, that didn't last long.

Instead of enjoying the three days of scheduled holiday (holy days), I found myself back in the office, writing sermons and devotionals, interviewing candidates, joining in new faculty orientation, and so on and so on. In it's own way, it was a good week. I worked hard, accomplished some good things, and eased the panic--even if only a bit. But I also ended the week feeling like I had missed out on something ... something holy.

I resolved not to continue my mistake, and so, even though there remains a pile of stuff to do, more details to chase, final edits to make, more interviews to conduct ... I was adamant that I would take this saturday as sabbath.

I woke early, and since I enjoy the quiet of morning, it was a treat to sit outside in the cool dewey air and slowly sip my way through a really good cup of coffee (thanks again for the beans, Bob!) The sun rose, I carefully watered some new plants I've started for next year, picked a few veges, and then hauled out the hose to more thouroughly water the vege garden and perennial flowers. And that was when I spotted a wasp hole. A couple wasps were just emerging, waking, as was I to a bright sunny day.

You know I should have left them well enough alone. I need those wasps. They help pollinate my plants. There aren't enough bees around here, so these little honey wasps are critical to the garden. But before even thinking through all this I just trained the flow of water on the hole to see what would happen .... Duh.

I don't really blame the wasp that stung me. After all, I had just mortally threatened it's home with catastrophic demise. And I don't even think it was trying to "come get me." It just so happened that in it's panicked flight to flee the flood, it flew up my shorts. I don't know just how far it got before it turned around but apparently I inadvertantly blocked it's way out as I shook my leg--the cloth of my shorts rubbing up against my leg closed off the wasp's escape.

The sting itself lasted only 10 minutes or so. But the swelling and itching and tightening of my skin continues. He must have got me pretty good because the swelling is about the diameter of a baseball.

I should have known. When we mess with creation, we inevitably get stung. And sabbath is as much a part of creation as anything else. If we mess with sabbath, one way or another we'll feel the sting.


Thursday, August 7, 2008


I haven't blogged for a while.

'Twas a kind of sabbath ... just letting go. Just as importantly, I wasn't sure I had anything to say that merited a blog (which of course now prompts the question: on what basis does such merit get evaluated? ... and I'm not sure I know, but it felt so).

This fallow, sabbath season is fast drawing to a close. In less than two weeks, the rush of the new (academic) year begins. Panic. But today, it's still summer. Peace.

What odd space this is. Panic and peace. Peace and panic. Beautiful summer days, destructive and deadly storms. Already, but not yet ... the kingdom come/ing.

Knowing when to rest in the peace that still lingers, and when to kick into gear to address the swelling panic is, I find, a matter of deep spiritual discernment. Believing that God will provide is a challenge when the panic swells; but failing to enjoy the peace and quiet that God uniquely provides through the gift of a cool summer breeze seems equally wrong. It is of course paramount that some preparation is done prior to the end of summer, and what better time for careful reflection and imaginative probing is there than the quiet of summer? The need for spiritual discernment is clear.

Soon enough, I will blog again. But that's it for now. There's a cool breeze blowing outside...