Monday, May 26, 2014

From Genesis to Now: the Tower of Babel

Dear Christa—

I guess sometimes people can just talk too much. I suppose sometimes we just need to know when to stop.
The second year I taught (nearly 30 years ago), I had vocal nodes. What was crazy about it was that I was teaching a small kindergarten class of 6 exceptionally well behaved and precious little kids. But, the sweet little class was in a rather large room of the church, and the speech therapist decided I was speaking to the room and not the class. (And the fact that I had the “Oh, Holy Night” solo in the Christmas cantata, which was way too high for me surely exacerbated the situation.) She also uncovered an anger issue, but we’ll just let that one go for now.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there…Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Gen. 7
Seeing the therapist was humiliating for me. Having minored in voice, I felt indignant this had happened. I wanted to do everything that I wanted to do.
Yet, the day before the first performance of the cantata, I awoke totally silent. I had no voice at all.
The result, though, was longer lasting than sessions with a speech therapist I didn’t care for, who in reality was probably quite nice: voice rest for weeks, except during the afternoons that I taught—no singing for six months and a voice that has always been weak all these many long years. So I learned to be quiet. And I learned that I am rather prideful.
So, the descendants of those who were saved in the ark became prideful. They intended to build their city and a tower to the sky. They chose themselves. They wanted to do everything they wanted to do, whether it was good or not.
I no longer teach a handful of little children, and a lingering cough has brought back old sensations in the throat that I don’t want to ignore. School was over last week, and now I really can choose to be quiet. I hope that this will be a summer I choose to listen and not babble.
Sometimes we talk too much, and sometimes we just need to stop.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Leaving the Boat

Dear Christa—
From Genesis to Now: Leaving the Boat
There’s that problem that never ends—the rift that seems to never heal. Sometimes, it seems that winter will drag on forever.
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a dark boat on the high tide of a raging sea?
Back in our childhood Sunday school days, we learned that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights after God shut Noah, his family, and all the animals into the ark. But, it’s easy to forget just how long they stayed there—long after the rain stopped.
There must have been times the small band of people felt isolated and forgotten.
But, that was not so.
And, as weeks turned to months and months turned to a year, God was at work.
Likely, Teutonic plates were being shifted, high mountains were uplifted and continents drifted apart. Yet, Noah and his kin sat alone in what surely seemed a dark hole.
I wonder as they heard the timbers creak if they ever looked around and wished they’d taken more care in the building process. They were safe, but I doubt they always felt like it. After all, a year is a long time.
Then, one day—Genesis 8:1 tells us—“God remembered Noah.” It wasn’t that He’d forgotten him; it was just that it was finally time for him to quit sitting around. At first he sent out birds and eventually he took off the cover, and finally they all stepped out onto dry ground.
No wonder they made sacrifices first thing. It’s easy to praise God when He lifts us out of the dark. It also doesn’t take us long to forget.
A couple of days ago it snowed, but on this early Saturday morning, I hear the birds chirping outside. They have returned. Winter is ending and summer approaches.
It’s time to get out of dark and walk toward the Light.