Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Goldsworthy's Wall - sacrifice" from L.L. Barkat

From Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.

L.L. and her husband have their first child. A baby girl, and a joy, but L.L. looks forward to getting back into her teaching job, and with that the prospect of a good house.

Little seven month old Sarah lets L.L. know, in no uncertain terms by her not eating while at the day care, that she is not accepting the separation from mother. She is not herself when L.L. picks her up, and L.L. is confronted with a choice. God seems to make it clear to her: you can have a big house, empty- or have a home filled with love. L.L. chooses in faith the sacrifice of love for her daughter, for her family, in answer to her God.

Andy Goldworthy's stone wall is an interesting piece of art, reminiscient of how God works in taking simple things from his creation, and making something new and special as when he created humankind- or in Jesus, helping those through such acts, such as when Jesus takes the mud to the blind man's eyes, and has him wash in the pool of Siloam, for healing, so that he could see.

L.L. remarks that we often think of the "great" things we can do, as in bigger, such as in her case, speaking, instead of the little, earthy things we can do for others, during the course of each day.

I was raised by parents who lived during The Great Depression. Dad and Mom always (and Mom still does) worked hard. I picked this up, so that to me the most important aspect of most of my day was, and to some extent still is to work hard, and do my work well. Of course that's good to a point. But one can lose sight so easily of the central place that relationships have and are to have in one's life. And with relationships comes sacrifice, beginning at home.

I extended the work ethic all too often in ways and places that were not good. For example, you get your work done first, then after that you see to a relationship with someone. Of course if you think you have things to get done around the house or a work project, or some other project, then relationships can take a back seat. When in reality, it should be all about relationships, work revolving around them. Not relationships somehow revolving around an all important work or task.

So if we think of sacrifice in terms of serving others, and not losing sight of our first order of life, to build and maintain relationships, beginning at home, then we're getting on the page that God has not only written, but inhabits. After all, love that at its heart is relational, is the only motive that gives value to any work or sacrifice. Without it, any sacrifice is empty and hollow in God's eyes. As Jesus told Peter, "If you love me, feed and take care of my sheep."

This chapter is a good, down to earth reminder, from L.L.'s own journey. It really made me think about the scope of my own life, and where I am in my actions now. And though I've come a long way, it is easy for me to get lost in my work, or in my own reading and thoughts, even prayers in a way that is not conducive to building with the gold, silver and costly stones, which will stand the test of the Lord's judgment. Good works are important, but the best works are done in relational ways, the mother raising her children being perhaps the epitome of this.

What thoughts do you have on sacrifice as depicted here, by L.L.?

1. Stepping Stones - conversion
2. Christmas Coal - shame
3. Tossed Treasures - messiness
4. Heron Road - suffering
5. Sword in the Stone - resistance
6. Howe's Cave - baptism
7. Palisade Cliffs - doubt
8. Holding Pfaltzgraff - inclusion
9. Indiana Jones - fear
10. Old Stone Church - love

Next week: "Clefts of the Rock - Responsibility"

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