How does this work again?

At the encouragement of my wise and loving counselor, I’m strongly encouraging my brain and fingers to get back to blogging. For those of you who have paid attention, my blog has sat idle since about this post back in April. There are a few factors that have gone into that. First of all, we moved to a new house. With that, of course, came the necessary boxing, moving, unboxing and finding new homes for things. I have a wonderful new office/man cave space but let’s just say it’s not the most peaceful of place to go and write at the moment. Because of the move, we have also been visiting new churches since our move took us further away from the church we were already driving 20 minutes to attend. Another big change was my new job as the Admissions Counselor for Fuller Seminary here in Sacramento. So far the new job and my new coworkers have been great and it’s been an answer to prayer, but learning the ropes has not given me much free time to blog. The icing on top of this transition cake is that my wife found out she was pregnant and has dealt with horrible morning sickness (as seems to be her way). This has also slowed our unboxing and moving in to the new house along with essentially turning me into a single father for the last 3 weeks or so.

To put that all in perspective, most of that transition happened within the span of a week. If God is moving me from the wilderness of the past year, it’s all felt a bit sudden. Probably similar to what Jonah felt like when the whale emesis’ed him on the shores somewhere outside of Ninevah. Needless to say, I have not had the mental capacity or the luxury of time to sit down and actually write something out.

“Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae, Who ate a monstrous whale?”

Aside from the things taking up my time, the airwaves have been overflowing with an overwhelming amount material I would love to comment on. But, I feel a bit like the poem by Shel Silverstein where a girl tries to eat a whale and it takes her 89 years to finish. There is so much out there to talk about, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Even if I did, between what’s happening in my life and on the news, it would take me at least 89 years to get through it all.

For example, I’m writing this on a day when the supreme court decided in favor of same-sex marriage, President Obama gave a speech (and sang Amazing Grace) at the funeral for the pastor killed along with eight other parishioners at the Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church and there were 60 people killed in separate terrorist attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait.

So, I’ll spare you that novel it would take to appropriately address EVERYTHING that has gone on and (naïvely I’m sure) try to swallow this whale in one gulp.

I’ve always found these words from the Sermon on the Mount to echo through my heart and mind when life piles up and the news is overflowing.

Therefore, don’t worry and say, “What are we going to eat?” or “What are we going to drink?” or “What are we going to wear?” Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own
Matthew 6:31-34 (CEB)

The challenge Jesus gives us is not to eat the whole “whale”, so to say. The challenge is to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. By attempting to swallow the whale, one might be tempted to conclude (as the Teacher in Ecclesiastes), “When I observed all that happens under the sun, I realized that everything is pointless, a chasing after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 CEB). I can be just as cynical as the next guy and am often tempted to throw up my arms when I feel overwhelmed and conclude that nothing matters. Nothing will change, injustice and pain will prevail. By challenging us to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, Jesus is challenging us to see that everything matters.

Nine lives tragically cut short while in a Bible study matters in God’s kingdom.

The one life that chose to end the nine matters in God’s kingdom.

60 people killed in (from my perspective) far off lands matters in God’s kingdom.

The misguided souls who carried the guns to kill 60 people matters in God’s kingdom.

Same sex couples given the civil right to marriage matters in God’s kingdom.

People concerned how this decision will affect their church, business and family matters in God’s kingdom.

The joy felt at the hope of a new life.

The anxiety and fear at the potential of feeling loss again.

Because God shows us through Jesus that this world matters. This life matters. An adulterous women at a well matters. Lepers matter. Foreigners matter. Thieves on a cross matter. A traveler from Cyrene at the wrong place at the wrong time matters. Five loaves and two fish matter. Water maters, wine matters. A meal shared with friends matters.

Life matters

Death matters.

In all these things our challenge is to seek and find God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. It can be hard to see. It often involves some digging, some dying and a new life. When we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” we are stating our partnership with God in seeking and revealing God’s kingdom in this world. It’s the Church’s job to pull back the curtain on trite answers and politics of the world in order that God’s kingdom and God’s righteous might be revealed.

So, all this to remind myself to not be overwhelmed. Don’t worry about today or tomorrow. Don’t try to eat the whale. Seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. Know that when I want to say that nothing matters…everything matters to God.