- an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole
- an organized or established procedure
harmonious arrangement or pattern
There are systems in place which govern our lives.
We may not be aware of how many established systems ground us.
Many are not of our choosing like the traffic system full of
stop lights and rules of the road.
Others we decide how we would like to arrange our
time and space:
make the bed or don’t,
drink coffee or endeavor to be caffeine-free,
partake in daily breakfast or obey stomach
pangs by mid-morning,
exercise regularly or not.
These daily tasks are part of a routine, a pattern
which makes up a life system helping to
bring order and rhythm to our moments.
On Saturday Carl and I sat across from one another at our table.
He had showered after his Saturday morning basketball game,
Caleb had bid farewell to a sleepover pal and I slept as long as possible
and made the bed :)
We sat with cups of coffee and tea.
I tend to need more stuff and scattered before me were
a Bible, a study, a journal,
a few other books and lots of pens.
Carl had the huge book you see pictured above.
theology: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience;
especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world
We have sat at this table hundreds of times.
We have consumed countless meals but regularly
we have come to this
table to spend time in God’s word,
to be anchored in our faith,
to find guidance,
to learn lessons
and to seek truth.
When I snapped this picture, Carl was unaware because
he was immersed.
He was recalling and recounting his theology.
He was allowing himself to sit before God and
gather his system of beliefs at eye level.
Because some days hope seems a farther reach
than a week ago.
A week has passed since Carl’s sister Vickie died
so swiftly and without a whisper of warning.
We sat at the table to recover our systems and cling
to our theology.
The system we have surrendered our lives to is belief
the Sustainer of life
and the glue who tightly adheres all our crumbling bits.
We have learned to keep our hearts and ears open this week
and discovered abiding comfort.
It’s been found in the “crowd sourcing” of Facebook.
We’ve seen it in the way family and friends love us in their
own special blend of thoughtfulness.
The pages of Scriptures where we landed
these past days have encouraged us that one day Christ will
wipe away every tear and there will be
no more death,
no more caskets,
no more sickness
and no more crying.
We heard words declared from a video describe the
sounds of the cries of death in a hospital.
Last Sunday we exchanged our church seats for ones in a hospital
but this week we resumed our pew dwelling and these were the
first words uttered by our pastor:
“This week, you might be facing a scary time.
It could be the day before a memorial service or a graveside service…”
God knew sitting in pews could never protect us from last Sunday.
But He promised to remain no matter where we sat,
be it a table,
or even a hospital.
So we rose from our pew
and sidled up to the Table filled with the knowledge that
Jesus bore all our sufferings.
We chew and sip at the Table’s edge because He
is acquainted with sorrow and joins us in our aches
Each table has become a place where God hears the
splash of tears upon our cheeks and dispatches
His comfort and often it is through others.
We all have systems.
Whatever system you have in place,
I hope it is effective when life quakes.
I am realizing it is very simple,
there is belief and disbelief and each
is a theology.
Whatever your theology,
I pray it brings comfort
and hope in any season.
This week has shown me when
hard events come we still brush our teeth (good thing),
we make our beds,
we make French toast, steal an extra
piece of bacon, pet the dog and
clean up our messes.
We also hug and kiss a little more.
We say I love you and catch ourselves when
we realize our system has been to rush past
each other in a blur so instead
capture one another’s eyes
to affirm our affections
and glory in our mutual comfort.