Written by Pastor Mark
Let’s talk about guys for a minute. We like to fix things. This is one of (the many) things that can make us such bad partners at times. When our loved ones come to us with problems we are not typically listening for emotional support. We are listening to try and figure out how to fix the problem. If my relationships are any indication, this is a characteristic that drives our loved ones nuts. It’s also our greatest strength. As is so often the case, our greatest weakness is our greatest strength carried out to its most illogical extreme.
I have always been captivated by the words of Isaiah 58: “You shall be called the repairer of the breach”. Isaiah has a picture in mind of a person who restores things. In this case it is a person of faith who restores justice. But there is a physical picture here, one who stone by stone, slowly, agonizingly restores what has been destroyed. Isaiah is using this as a metaphor, but it is also true of people who literally restore what has been torn apart. Building something takes patience, time and endurance. Destruction can be perfected in the blink of an eye.
Jesus uses another metaphor in the Gospel lesson today. He talks about a farmer sowing a crop who has no idea how it grows, or why. I would say that the same is true of fathers. They strongly influence us and affect how we become men, but the process is veiled in secrecy. The older I get, the more I think good, decent citizens are the key to a healthy society (and a healthy church for that matter). If you had a father who was present for you as you grew up you are blessed. If he was a decent citizen and human being you were especially blessed. If he was faithful to his spouse and provided a safe home for his children you are among the most blessed of people. If he worked for justice for the weakest in society, well, you have hit the lottery. We don’t often think of the amazing blessing of the normal, everyday people in our lives.
All summer we are holding up people who work to restore creation. Specifically today we are holding up those who like to restore physical objects. Remember, those who restore have a gift from God, it is what they were created to do and they are intended to take joy in their work. So, try and be patient with them when they use their gifts in areas in which they are not well suited. They are, for the most part, decent human beings, and that, as it turns out, is quite an impressive accomplishment.
Quotes for the Week The thing to remember about fathers is… they’re men. A girl has to keep it in mind: They are dragon-seekers, bent on improbable rescues. Scratch any father, you find someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors, believing change is a threat, like your first shoes with heels on, like your first bicycle . . . Phyllis McGinley
Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. Red Buttons
Men’s guide for how to diaper a baby: Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then, fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again. Jimmy Piersal
Isaiah 58: 8-12
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
Gospel Lesson Mark 4:26-34 (The Message)
Jesus also said, “The kingdomof Godis as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, the farmer does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once the farmer goes in with a sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 Jesus also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 and did not speak to them except in parables, but Jesus explained everything in private to the disciples.
Questions for the Week
Is there someone close to you who likes to fix things? How is that a gift and how is it a challenge?
What small things do you do in your life to make you a better human being?
What is the most amazing restoration of a physical object that you have ever seen accomplished?