09 February, 2014

Stuck in the muck

This morning we trudged through mushy snow to get to church. We all had snow boots/gum boots on so getting wet feet shouldn't have been a problem. 

Part of our walk home next to a local river. It is gorgeous
out today. Warm enough at 8 degrees. And the snow
is melting at quite a rate. Some places on the way home we
waded through melted snow up to ankle deep.
Except, have you ever seen children and snow? They rarely just walk past it (unless they're bored of it because they live in it for months, like we did when we live in the north of Japan). They touch it, scrunch it, pick it up, kick it, poke it, throw it, rumble in it. So, our boys inevitably got wet socks going to church. 

Therefore I shouldn't have been surprised when I glanced over at my middle son towards the end of the service and found him with his sock off. He had it up to his mouth and was blowing in it!

It reminded me of something I wrote on Christmas Day:
    I wonder how much culture shock Jesus suffered. After all he came from a perfect existence to a very smelly, dirty, painful one. But he did enter as a baby. It's not something really dwelt on in the Bible.
   I wonder, partly because last night I struggled to rise above the smelly and yucky of my world to engage in the Christmas Eve Candle service. I was wearing a mask in deference to our host culture, keeping my messy cold to myself and seated in a pew between two of our boys.
    I tried to savour the singing, though I didn't have enough breath to sing myself, and the Bible readings using my English translation.
    The mask was distracting, when I was having trouble breathing anyway, the mask made it worse by making the air warm... But worst of all was sneezing into it. Imagining having all those yuckies all over my face and breathing through it all was almost enough to make me want to throw up.
    Then there was a distinct sound from my left and the remaining ability I had to smell told me the boy had let one loose. Thankfully Japanese are stoic and there was no tittering, but I can only imagine what they thought, especially after this had happened two or three more times through the service.
    As I said, it was hard to concentrate on the blessed and holy! I'm just thankful that I'm saved by grace and not by the ability to concentrate perfectly.
Yep, church with kids is not something serene, it is not an activity done with a single mind and purified of all that is yucky. 

Yet, I love these boys. They keep me grounded. Just when I might be beginning to think I've made myself holy or becoming close to being acceptable to God, they remind me that my feet are firmly planted in all that isn't pure and light. In fact I'm downright plastered in the muck. No matter how hard I try, there's no way I can become acceptable to God. I'm too messy and live in a world just as bad. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (NIVUK)
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (The Message)
But isn't the following something to look forward to: (The Message again.)
Revelation 21:21 The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn’t need sun or moon for light. God’s Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth’s kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won’t be any night. They’ll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City. Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get in. 

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