I recently heard a Jewish guy talking about Passover. He said something like, “part of the reason we celebrate passover every year is to remind us that when it’s time to go, you don’t wait around for the bread to rise” (the passover ceremony involves eating ‘unleavened’ bread). When God calls you to move, you don’t hesitate over secondary priorities that delay obedience.
At the playground a while back, when parks were open, my daughter asked, “why is that man counting at his child?” my response: “Because he doesn’t want to discipline him.”
This is part of the reason we’ve tried to teach our children to be quick to obey. Not so that our lives are easier (though that is often a positive byproduct). Much more important is that they learn the same principle as the Jews at Passover: Obey God when he speaks. How else does one learn about benevolent authority in life? School? Not my teachers. Government? Yeah right. Church? Maybe, though there can be weird definitions of authority in some churches. The same can be said of many homes, but when a loving family is striving to honor God in all that they do, the children get a picture, though imperfect (or, ‘dimly’) of what a loving heavenly Father is like. And He can be trusted completely in every way.
Around the same time as Passover is Palm Sunday. On the original Palm Sunday, many people were celebrating Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. They were singing his praises. That’s great. Except just a few days later they hated Him. They wanted Him dead. They went from high-fiving his dunks to demanding a trade. Oh, and for metal spikes to be hammered through his flesh. Easy to call them fickle, but the most troubling part of this is a gnawing sense in the caverns of my mind that I might have done the same had I been there. I keep pushing that feeling down with an incredulous “Pshaw. Not me.” But it keeps popping back up like a beach ball in the pool. Why is it that we love to vilify public figures? Imagine if you were on the flip side. It would be pretty disturbing to find out via twitter that someone hated your guts because of your views on zoning. Someone you’ve never met. Jesus never even talked about zoning laws and they literally killed Him. My point is that I’m quick to be angry toward people I barely know for insignificant reasons. But is it really worth it?
Last reflection: I had a conversation with a good friend the other day about the quarantine culture and staying put. He says he thinks this is a corrective gift from God for us all to learn how to be comfortable being around our own family again. It really is crazy to see how little tolerance families tend to have with one another. We’ve trained ourselves to be busy and on the go all the time. Partly to avoid ourselves, and partly to avoid our own family. Many parents have built their entire lives around avoiding their kids. Yes people are out walking more in the neighborhood, but they still struggle to tolerate one another. Mom and Dad walk with phone in palm, face pointed down, while little Johnny drives along in his mini-SUV. We have no idea how to be human. The plains Indians spent months sitting in a tipi buried in snow. They couldn’t read, write or even update their apps. They may have played some kind of games, told stories, smoked a pipe, but mostly they just sat and waited for the temperature to rise to a balmy zero. I pray this season teaches us to not simply tolerate one another, but to re-learn how to delight in one another. Re-learn how to choose time together with no agenda over agenda driven hurry.