The Original Versace

 

God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them. – Genesis 3:21

I’ve read through the story of creation many times and each offers novel highlights and insights. This verse stuck out to me when I read it last. I imagined God with a tape measure around his neck, tailor’s chalk in his hand, and pins held in one side of his mouth as he spoke out the other in Tim Gunn-esque style, of course … “Now, give me a spin, daaahling … Oh dear! Frankly, I’m concerned. The cut is all wrong, Eve. We must start over.”

I had a little giggle … then programmed our DVR to record the next Project Runway … then remembered another verse about God as a clothing designer:

Look at the wild flowers. They never primp or shop, but have you seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. – Matthew 6:28-9

I am never so awed as when I stop for a moment in nature and view the delicate design of a snowflake, the prismatic pigments of the sky, the assorted architecture of the landscape, and the tender tendrils of the flowers.

He made it all!

He dressed the animals in fur, he bedazzled the night sky, he stitched together the wings of the butterflies, he attached the iridescent scales of the fish, he knit together the bark of the trees.

Prayer: You are the most amazing clothing designer there ever was and will ever be. Thank you for sharing your wonder with us.

You decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live. – Gianni Versace

The Great Man

 

When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. – Luke 10:33

The Good Samaritan. It is such a well-known Biblical story that the title is widely used to describe anyone who does anything charitable for a stranger. However, in Biblical days, the plot of the story was thicker than what’s typically represented today. The person in need was at great odds with the person who helped. In fact, the people groups involved … the Jews and the Samaritans … absolutely despised each other. The reason? Racial differences.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day earlier this week, I’ll let him describe the scene as he did in his speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, which he gave the day before he was assassinated:

One day a man came to Jesus, and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters of life. … Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn’t stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But he got down with him, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

Dr. King worked tirelessly during his lifetime to combat racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. As a minister and student of the Bible, he was well-versed in the best tactic: love.

Prayer: Give me the capacity to love another … even my “enemies” … as I love myself.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Belong Before You Behave

 

Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit. – Mark 2:17

I have been a part of a church or two that feel more like private country clubs than what a church should be. I paid my yearly dues – tithe. I attended weekly meetings where rules were made clear. I engaged in monthly social events where I mingled with like-minded people. We patted ourselves on the back for being “spiritual” and “in the world but not of it”.

It wasn’t until I matured a bit in my faith that I began to wonder if churches should be less like country clubs and more like hospitals.

I’m grateful to now be a part of a church who welcomes the sick, the questioning, the addicts, the depressed, the lonely, the seeking, the sinners … i.e. all of us. We wrestle with life together and seek God’s best for us. If your church requires a membership card, it might be time to question why.

Prayer: I’m so grateful that you turn no one away.

Come as you are

With all your flaws

Liars, cheaters, addicts,

We accept them all.

You will learn what’s best,

Let go of the rest.

But you can’t be changed lest

You first come as you are.

(Today’s title was lifted from one of our church’s sermons. I’m glad Jesus welcomes thieves.)

Martha, Martha, Martha!

 

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 38:41-42

I remember reading this story for the first time (and several times there after), sympathizing with Martha’s complaint. Mary was being a free-loader! They had an important guest and the meal needed to be perfect. To leave her sister to bear the burden of the preparation alone seemed an enormous injustice.

Confession: I am an amazing Do-er and a terrible Be-er. If my feet aren’t moving, my hands not working, my mind not thinking, I feel unproductive and insufficient. Most of the tasks I’m DOing are not bad in and of themselves – cooking (like Martha), cleaning, running errands, driving kids. However, when they are crammed together one right after the next, leaving no time for rest, prayer, or reflection, I lose my focus on God and all pursuits become hollow.

Mary saw what was right in front of her and mindfully ignored the nonessential happenings that surrounded her. She kept the main the main thing. How would our calendars differ this year if we sought God first?

Prayer: Please take over my schedule this week. Show me where I should be DOing less and BEing more with you.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey

(Many thanks to the poor middle child, Jan Brady, for the inspiration for today’s title)