Eric's Sunday Sermon; The How To of How To
This is just a really cool photo that Bill Holland let us use in a writing challenge.
In the natural world
Oh my! There are millions of articles and books which we can find to tell us how to do anything at all. Everything from natural childbirth to becoming a millionaire to making bombs to becoming a spiritual guru. There are illustrated guides on how to have sex and long winded books on how to raise the resulting children. Some are very helpful and some not so much. Wow, I saw a booklet on how to write a how to book. Perhaps it is all just how too much.
So we pulled up many of these written gold mines of how to and reviewed them briefly. What we found was that not one of them told us really “How to”. Most assuredly they told us the mechanics for getting things done. They told us the tools to use and the temperatures to use and the most affordable pricing and the most quality products to use. They had illustrations and anecdotes on the way in which the author did the task. It is amazing the things that are available and the folks who are experts.
Recently there was a young boy who was upset and angry at putting together or assembling a new toy gadget. He just was not quite old enough to read and make sense of the instructions. The frustration was palpable. When he finally asked an elder “how do I?” there was a real “how to” response. (And you thought this was going to be easy ;-) There was a problem. You see the boy had his mind set on how to finish his project. The elder had been tasked to “how to” take care of the boy. They did not have a common interest or point of focus. One wanted to get one thing done and the other another. You can quite clearly see that the best interests of the boy was not in getting the project done but rather learning how to do a project. And for that boy all he could think of was a shiny new thingamagadget to play with. Just like us adults.
The only proper remedy here is to unfocus the boy on the toy and refocus him on the task of putting it together. And the only real task at raising a child up is to teach them to enjoy the process of the doing of the thing. If this is done all else falls into place. Interest and activity is peaked and a calmness of purpose is achieved and enjoyment of life is all but guaranteed. Oh but if it were so easy.
Let us look into this more deeply with some emphasis in the adult world of the spiritual. Come on it will be fun.
I like this. It just makes me happy to see some spirituality hit the mainstream, seems like it is too often just side streams.
Something sure knows how to grow beauty
Our Father who art is heaven.
For us Bible based spiritually led folks the Father concept is easy and engrained. For others they just have to picture that our creator is like a father figure with all the love and intentions for us that that entails. Keep it simple and keep it a good and loving father in your thoughts. For our purposes today we need not encompass jealousy and vengeance leave that at the doorstep of your mind for today.
Our above example gives us some insight as to what our Father’s job is. He is not all consumed with us getting particular projects done. But He is loving and guiding to help instruct us on how to do projects. Around this happy home we are at a stage of the simplest of concepts of how to put something together. Reading instructions is still a ways down the road. So we are faced with learning how to by example and repetition and generalized conceptual discussions. A jigsaw puzzle is a perfect tool to use in this learning process. It is not just about getting the puzzle to look like the picture on the box but about how we get to that goal. The fact that a jigsaw puzzle is a perfect example of how complex things go together to form the larger picture is just a plus.
The very first task in undertaking our puzzle is our attitude. Put the phone away. Maybe put on some mellow background music. Smile, and if you don’t feel like it, fake it until you make it. Focus and relax. Throw in some levity with purpose; “I am one with the puzzle task”. And away we go organizing the pieces by the patterns in the picture, by edges and by corners. And we communicate and share our ideas of what goes where so we learn from each other. And of course we throw our hands in the air and do a yahoo dance when we solve a hard part.
Not so blooming fast, we forgot a step. We just jumped in to get the project done in a positive productive way – our way! No way! We failed to use the greatest resource at our disposal. We forgot all about our Father who art in heaven. We took off just as cocked fire sure as could be that WE could do this thing. No way dude! We should have and must always stop, give thanks for the opportunity to be trying. Ask His advice. Ask Him to guide us. Ask that His will not ours be done. Ask for open mindedness and a willing heart. Ask to be joy filled and learn like little children. And ask that we treat those who endeavor with us with love and compassion. Now we are ready to start. Now we are into the “How to”.
Nice thoughts in this song.
What cherished new life Spring does bring.
I do not know how to pray, I just do it.
Around this sometimes seemingly crazy home we have a saying; “The big stuff is easy”. And by big stuff we are referring to things like serious financial hardship, job problems, health problems and family problems. Stuff like death and serious injury and severe loss. No we do not make light of these problems and we are not Pollyannas. It just is that when faced with big stuff we immediately turn to our Father and pray and turn the problem over to Him and take the next indicated step. So what problem? Oh you mean His problem, well it ain’t ours anymore. And the joke of the matter is that we take back the reins on the small stuff, the little how to do its of life and we forget how to do it right, and things go wrong.
Just yesterday our small family crawled into our lady’s car to go shopping as a crew. Our wife and mother looked at us boys with chagrin just 100 feet down the road. “What!?” we exclaimed in unison with innocent surprise and shameless attentiveness. “Neither of you prayed for a safe trip and to do His will”, was the stern admonishment slash reminder. “I suppose you just don’t do it when you are out driving around without me?” Oops we had been forgetting. I reckon in a really real sense I had been forgetting “how to” drive.
Well now as I was finishing this up and reading Psalm 23 about God being a shepherd, It was about 7:30 am. A fine time of day on a Sunday. Birds singing the sun warm but not hot and a family just starting to rub the sleep from their eyes. And a neighbor who clearly has not read this sermon began mowing and blowing his yard. I am sure he knows just “how to” do it as it looks marvelous. But maybe if he would have stopped and prayed on the matter, his Father would have told him to give it an hour or so before waking the whole neighborhood.
About the Psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Some thoughts for further contemplation. Why do those weirdos in the restaurant do that Grace thing before eating? What is up with those professional ball players praying before, during and after games? Does that cross thingy people do over their chest help anything? Why do so many moms pray for their children? And perhaps you may ask “why does that crazy Eric preacher pray for me and he does not even know me”.