Not much blogging going on lately…don’t know exactly why, but I haven’t felt in the mood, I guess. We’ve really enjoyed the comments and discussion under the Garage Gleanings entry…thanks, Everyone, for your thought-provoking notes.
By way of quick update, and in no particular order of importance, here is some of what has been going on around House of Horne:
* Abigail’s spring ballet recital
* Lots of unpacking and clearing of spaces (and yes, there is still much more to be done!)
* Soccer games
* Dinner and visiting with new neighbors
* A couple of very nasty colds
* Celebrations of my 35th birthday
* Praying for and grieving with this family over their heartbreak and loss
* Gearing up for the last month of school
* Covenant’s Spring Fling
* Coloring on the living room couches with permanent marker (only one guess as to who is responsible for this mess!)
* Poison Ivy
* School projects and presentations
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 19:9-10
And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 23:22
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this. ~ Deuteronomy 24:19-22
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. ~ Ruth 2:2-3
Think of it. God commanded farmers to be inefficient at what they do for the sake of the poor. They were not to maximize their “stewardship” of their resources but were to instead allow economic inefficiency to benefit the poor.
This is so contrary to the drumbeat of stewardship and resourcefulness that receives most of the attention in the American church (at least in my experience). The gleaning laws were not about some special act of charity. Rather, in the normal course of your work and life, you were to be a bit sloppy and inefficient so others might benefit. You were not to be faithful in the little acts of diligence so God would bless your work. Instead, you were to neglect what might be considered normal diligent work so that God would bless you.
But how might this apply to the very non-agrarian life most of us live? One pattern that Tricia and I have tried to establish that might be an application is this: we don’t do garage sales. In the normal course of things, all that stuff that might go into a garage sale goes to Goodwill. Oh, we sell an occasional large item on eBay or Craigslist. But rather than seeking to capitalize on the clothes, toys, and household items that need a new home, we pass them along with the hope that they might help the poor. In this way we aspire to “not reap your field right up to its edge”.
In what other ways might we live out the gleaning laws today? Where should our normal view of diligent stewardship give way to a Godly inefficiency that benefits the poor?
A big thank you to my mom and dad who, in November bequeathed to us a chandelier they took down when they moved into their new home; they already owned a cherished fixture which they wanted to hang in its place. I brought the chandelier back to Dallas and with the help of an incredibly cute little blonde, blueberry-eyed boy, removed the lights and covers, and prepared it for painting:
After Nicolas and I painted the chandelier a satin black, Jay found a little piece of molding at Home Depot, which we painted to match the fixture, and a couple of weeks ago he installed the whole thing in our dining room which used to look like this:
And here it is, now with the new light in place:
Admittedly, not much of a make-over has yet taken place in the dining room…but at least we have picked a paint color! It will be fun when the walls in here are red…I am really looking forward to decorating this room!
And, I was so thrilled to find out just how simple it is to paint a chandelier and give it a whole new look. When your chandelier just happens to be free, all you spend money on is the can of spray paint (and the optional molding). Quite a deal compared to some of the other projects we’re involved with around the House of Horne!
Over the weekend, we had the privilege of traveling to visit my brother Andrew and sis-in-law, Jamison in their new home in College Station. It is hard to believe that it’s been only three and a half years since our last trip to Uncle Andrew’s house in College Station…that seems like a lifetime ago to me, before Andrew was a “grown-up” working man, before there was an Aunt Jamison, or a baby TaterTot on the way!! But the older two children actually remember our Thanksgiving 2003 visit to Uncle Andrew’s college digs with great fondness.
Despite being the middle of April, the weather this time was actually colder than it was over that winter holiday, and we spent most all of our time indoors (except for one extremely fun walk that Jamison and I took in the sleet, huddled together under an umbrella! and yes, it really was fun!).
What a delight it was to see their new place, get an up close and personal look at what will soon be the new nursery, and enjoy their wonderful hospitality and Jamison’s delicious cooking. We loved worshiping with them at their church, which also happens to be the church Peter and I attended back when we were in college – how great to visit again. Here is a picture of all of us after church on Easter Sunday:
In Luke 11:27, a woman declares:
“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”
Back in Luke 1, Elizabeth had declared to Mary:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
Mary responded by saying:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, or he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed…”
Yet when Jesus responds to the woman’s statement of Luke 11:27, he says:
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Which leaves me confused. Not regarding the content or truth of what Jesus says, but rather the purpose of what appears to me to be a purposefully broken parallel between the two conversations. Why does Luke present such a sharp contrast between the two events?
For some reason this sequence reminds me of Jesus’ claim in Luke 7:28:
“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Is the transition away from Mary blessedness analogous, that her blessedness is in the context of the shadows of night, and that in the dawning of the new day / new creation blessedness takes on a new order of magnitude, dwarfing that which came before? In other words, is the transition between Luke 1 and Luke 11 pointing to the turning point in redemptive history when the word became flesh and dwelt among us?