Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Here’s a little math problem: if the living room, where the fireplace is, was fifty-five degrees this morning, then the dining room, several hallways away was probably at least five degrees colder, making it somewhere around fifty degrees. When Lydia and I walked out of our room into the dining room, it seemed warm and cozy to us, meaning the temperature difference between our room and the dining room was significant. Let’s say it was between five and ten degrees. This means our bedroom, when we dragged ourselves out of bed this morning, was somewhere around forty to forty-five degrees. It’s amazing just how chilly a little math can make one feel. I envy the early Americans and Eskimos—at least they didn’t know how cold they were.

Doorbells are a modern convenience that we would do well to integrate into our life. Something past four I heard a soft knock on the front door and paused in my work to run inventory on the inhabitants of this house. Mom was in her room, working away and Lydia and Josiah were out sawing logs—for real. I jumped up, overturning my desk stool and dashed down my hallway, dodged the great table in the dining room, skirted the kitchen island and flung the front door open just in time to see Dathan slowly descending the front stairs. “We’re here!” I called after him. “We’re actually here!” After receiving a detailed tour he commented, “No wonder it took you a little while to answer the door.” Within a few minutes, the months since we’d last seen him had dropped away and he seemed as much at home here as he ever did when he used to drop by on his way home from school in Kansas.

“You look like a child of the ‘70s,” a passing fellow grocery-shopper commented, admiring the sari I’d wrapped over layers of jeans, tights, turtlenecks and under armor. We’ll just say my personal style is unique. But she liked it. I mentioned the sari came from India, via a friend’s mission trip and the door of opportunity swung wide open until she one-upped me. “Do you have any religious beliefs?” She smiled, “Well yes. I believe God made us all, loves us and sent his Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins and that’s really something for me to smile about.” Being one-upped in that manner is not so bad, after all.

We’ve been reading through Acts over breakfast, and I’m struck by Paul’s boldness. Everywhere he went he stood up and preached the gospel, never worrying about whether or not he was interrupting anything. The prophets of old did the same. Jonah walked into Ninevah and upset the whole culture with his shocking revelation: God will destroy you if you don’t repent! The message hasn’t changed. Why has the method?

Lord, I know Thou spoke of old
Thy words are precious, more than gold.
When Thou would speak again, today—
O may we hear the words Thou’d say—

Please see me fit, though less than scum
To be Thy mouth, to be Thy tongue
To tell the world the words from Thee
That they might praise Thy diety.

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