Saturday, April 21, 2012

spring has sprung

Jasper,

You're still not walking and you're still not saying too many words. But maybe that's because your crawl is speedy and your body language is so expressive already. I'm getting used to "timeline chez Jasper". You achieve milestones about three months after people expect you to be there...and all the waiting is worth it. By then you've carefully considered your method and surprise us all with your expertise. So I'll wait. Happily.

In the meantime, you stroll with the walker toy all over the house, bumping into stuff and backing up and turning around. You say Mama and Dada and Bobba (Bottle) and Hi and Bye and Three. You shake your head No and nod Yes. Your gestures are easy to read and I'm so glad to understand a bit about your world.

You are a man of the outdoors. Wood chips, tulips, grass and water. You throw a football, crawl after it and throw it again. You're better at fetch than Odin! You chew on leaves and laugh at the sun and whine when we head inside. Even if your hands are chilly and your nose is red.

We are borrowing this car from Marma and.you.love.it. You shake with glee while we open the garage door and your legs kick wildly until I buckle you in. Then you get serious. Hands at ten and two. Eyes on the road. When a car goes by you wave. When kids are playing in a nearby yard, you hold out your hand in a long, formal gesture that reminds me of royalty on parade floats. The world is your street dance, kid.

Mornings are busiest. I pour a half empty cup of coffee back in the warm pot and fill it up again, but only take a few sips before I'm distracted by your silliness or and trying to get dressed between games. Then the coffee needs to be warmed again. And again a little later. But it's a good ritual that reminds me how full of love my day will be. If real ministry is in the interruptions, then real motherhood is in the tugs on my pants pulling me from a task at eye level to another near my ankles.

I can't remember the last time I pulled out your baby book, so this is it for 14.5 months. I'll write the things I should record before I forget. Your supermodel poses on our bed. You love wrestling in our room and playing with our shades. When we read "I'll love you through and through", you start babbling on the page that shows the little boy talking. You look up at me and giggle whenever a book says the word Mommy or Love. You devour chicken pot pie and quesadillas and pasta and green beans and broccoli and sausage. I gave you a jalapeƱo by accident, but you prevailed. Your teeth continue to come in and you look more like a kid than a baby now. You're quick up the stairs and can crawl up on all the furniture with ease. You have a great sense of humor and seem to get ours. You nap hard midday and get jealous when I hold other people's babies. You give kisses and cuddle and put up a good fight getting out of the bathtub. You'd sleep in there if we let you.

Speaking of sleep, you're up. I hear you jabbering upstairs and that must mean your nap is over. Be right there. Love, Mom

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

keep it simple.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall share with a neighbor; the lamb shall be divided so every person receives the same portion. Eat it with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly.  
It is the passover of the Lord.For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am theLord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.    - Exodus 12 (The First Passover)

In this first reading for Maundy Thursday, God marks our sense of time and creates a calendar for the people of God. Our story begins with a close call. There is drama and death is right around the corner. Then again, isn't it always? An innocent one is chosen and sacrificed for the sake of many. Not because it's easy or fair, but because it's the only way.

When you do this at the beginning of each year, don’t get too comfortable with the idea. Don’t bury the meaning beneath something lavish or laid back. Keep it simple and valuable so you remember to be agile in faith, ready to move where the Spirit sends you. And so the Passover has helped generations of people remember God’s saving grace. The simple tradition has gathered families around tables and the faithful in synagogues to remember how much God loves us.

God knew that over time we would do a wonderful job of hiding the meaning of things deep beneath strange expectations, false promises, and tempting distractions. God knew Christmas would one day fall prey to garland and credit card debt. The anticipation of Easter would be rooted in chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs. We get carried away so easily, creating layers of tradition about...nothing at all.

But there is a beautiful beginning here in Exodus, long before God’s people had any holidays and festivals. While they were still slaves in Egypt dreaming of an escape, God marks their time with something solid and simple.

Your calendar, your story, your lives begin here: with your loins girded and a simple meal shared in a community. Take a morsel, the same size as the next person. There is enough for everyone. And when you take it, when you mark your house with its blood and consume its flesh, you will be changed. You will be strengthened. You will have what you need for the journey ahead and the promise that God goes with you. This is the God who breaks bread for his friends and betrayers and deniers alike...because sometimes we are all three. This is the God who passes the cup around for everyone, claiming people with his own blood. This is the God who bends down to wash Peter’s feet, becoming lower and taking on the dirt and dust of another because that is the only way Peter can be clean. That is the only way we can be clean.

That is love. That is the love of a God who does not want the good and true stuff to get buried in our heavy and noisy lives. And so God commands us to keep it simple. To take and to eat. To do this in remembrance of him.

And in doing so, we are filled with that same love. By consuming the body and blood of Jesus, we become the resurrection promise. We become the servant bold enough to watch the hands and feet of others. We become the meal that satisfies the whole world.