tables

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system:

  • 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,

comfort,

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

in God,

the Creator,

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.

(One day.)

We heard words declared from a video describe the

sounds of the cries of death in a hospital.

We remembered.

(God knew.)

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,

a pew

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

and pains.

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.

Mostly.

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

we stop,

capture one another’s eyes

to affirm our affections

and glory in our mutual comfort.

 

every morning and evening

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 “Starbucks might cause me to start drinking coffee again!”

I had given up coffee nearly two years ago.

Drinking coffee is perfectly fine but for me; it started to take over my life.

It had begun as a morning tradition and seeped into an evening habit.

Slowly I began thinking about coffee again.

Perhaps it was the weather change or living in Portland, Oregon.

It is hard to live in a city where the slightest shift in wind direction bathes

the air  with the intoxicating aroma of freshly roasted coffee.

Whatever the reason, I missed coffee.

Tea was a worthy substitute.

I cozied up with Earl Grey or English Breakfast and

applauded my fortitude.

While my husband pondered my absurd proclamation,

knowing he missed our shared coffee ritual,

I launched into my rationale.

I had innocently pulled my car up to a coffee window to order my

favorite tea latte only to learn

my tea of choice were being phased out.

The new teas would arrive in November.

November!

I had put my hopes in a substitute only to have it wrestled from my grasp.

My husband patiently listened as I presented my case from my passenger seat.

He reminded me there was nothing wrong with drinking coffee again.

Gradually my resolve was weakening as we finished our last errand.

He then demonstrated the most loving selfless act,

he took me to a different Starbucks counter and encouraged

me to try again.

He wondered if I might receive a different answer.

We left armed with a steaming paper cup of tea,

a smile on my face and a mini-crisis adverted.

Coffee has reminded me of old ways.

My old life was filled with weightier matters than my hot beverage preferences.

Coming to Christ has meant turning my back on the nudges of my old life.

New life isn’t free from tormenters who make it their aim to recapture me.

“For forty days,
the Philistine came forward every morning and evening
and took his stand.”

I Samuel 17:16

There are tormenters or Goliaths in my life who wage a relentless pursuit, armed

and ready to take a stand against new life in Christ.

Their tactics create a shadow across the life I inhabit.

They whisper questions as familiar as those uttered by the snake to Eve.

They hope to lull me into a state of forgetfulness and create alluring visions

of momentary pleasures disguised as detrimental needs.

Jesus freely extends an overflowing cup of new life.

Every morning and evening I choose Jesus.

I only need to ask him once but often, I need confirmation that

I truly belong to Him.

His answer never changes.

He tenderly speaks to me from the full measure of His character and

obliterates my fear of  losing His presence

or discovering His resources depleted.

He inhabits the lives of others to continue to steady my path.

He’s revealed in my husband who is well acquainted with my weaknesses

yet clasps my fingers in his and guides me back to where I belong.

 

Every morning and evening,

I  not only choose new life,

I receive new life.

A new life which towers over

every competitor with grace,

goodness and peace.

Forever grateful, He welcomes coffee and tea drinkers alike.

**********

I am linking up with others from The High Calling community
as we share stories about Finding New Life.
Read other stories here.