Bread, signs, baseball, & family time…

This morning I was reading in the Gospel of John as a part of the SOAP devotional reading plan

I was in John 6 (NOTE: for those of you also on the SOAP plan, I do realize that John 6 wasn’t scheduled to be read until Wednesday, but I couldn’t help myself & read ahead.) The context: Jesus has just had a lengthy interchange with the Jews of Judea over His healing of a man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day; an action that they believed to be in violation of the 4th commandment (Chapter 5.) Chapter 6 tells of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5000… & the subsequent response by the people who heard what He’d done. Crowds began to follow Him everywhere… but it wasn’t because of what He was saying, teaching, & testifying about. Here’s what jumped out at me:

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves & were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see & believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven & gives life to the world.” They said to Him, Sir, give us this bread always.”

Several things stand out:
• People will go a long way for free bread
• They want to know what the ‘works of God’ are
• Jesus challenges them to believe in Him – & that this is the work that God wants from them.
• They ask for a sign to prove Jesus is the Christ – & this is after He’s healed the guy at Bethesda, & after He’s turned 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread into a meal for a multitude.

What are they really looking for? Another sign? Something sensational?

Takes me back to the Yancey Book I’m currently reading, & the discussions with Chum about signs & wonders. Signs (which point to something, someone, or somewhere) aren’t the point – they’re just signs, they’re not the destination. Those that didn’t believe, wouldn’t believe even when confronted, repeatedly, with the miraculous. They just asked for more signs.

Signs don’t bring about belief. Devotion. Love. They point.

Chewing on this.

Sat with the family last night for a Family meeting, our 1st one since we got the band back together last Friday. Pasty’s been in Tennessee visiting theGirl, & iDoey & theWeez have been at High-School camp. It was a ‘meaning of life’ discussion, with lots of laughter, tears, & soul-baring. Makes me want to be a better man. Husband. Father.

Watched The Village last night with the fam… a couple members of the fam have shied away from this one in the belief that it was a scary movie… to me, this is 1st & foremost a love story (just like the X-Files is a love story… but I digress.)

After watching it, all members of the fam agreed (albeit reluctantly,) that the movie really is a love story, (though theBean threw in the caveat, “Its is a really great love story, but it sucks because they use fear & lies to keep the people in a world of farce.) Booyah!

And iDoey watched The Natural. I was able to catch the last 40 minutes with him. Man. Every time I watch the ending, I’m reminded of the beauty & perfection of the game of baseball.

Makes me want to watch the whole thing a couple of times, followed by Field of Dreams. And maybe The Sandlot.


thoughts on TiVo, signs & wonders, love, & other musings…

I’ve been waiting for 3 years, & now DirecTV has figured out a way to make their DVR technology compatible with the wiring in my house. In the interim, I had TiVo – & wasn’t incredibly overjoyed at having to subscribe to a dish service, & a separate service so I could record the shows I wanted to watch at my convenience.

So, today, a joyous occasion. After 4 false starts & missteps, the DVR is being installed as I type this. Which means that I needed to call & cancel the TiVo service. Which is a lot easier than it sounds. Should be simple, right? Call in (because you can’t cancel on line, don’t you know? For my protection. Right. I think that it just might be that they make you call in so they can hit you with the Full-Scale Guerrilla Blitzkrieg (FSGB,) which employs intimidation, cajoling, ridicule, name calling, & other fun Techniques of Manipulation to try & keep you as a customer.

I’d prefer not to recount the entire 20 minute interchange with Andrew, which I endured in order to obtain the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, hanging like the proverbial carrot at the end of a stick. And yes, it really was that bad. Bad enough that I’d like to call in to talk to a supervisor to discuss my experience. Bad enough that at one point I asked Andrew, (in my best Steven Seagal ‘I’m totally under control but I’m so incredibly fearsome you really don’t want to continue in this vein because of my knowledge of Kah-razy’ voice):

“Is it your job to attempt to antagonize me to the point that I just hang up the phone before getting the elusive Confirmation of Cancellation code, thereby maintaining my TiVo subscription? Do you realize that I had my mind made up to cancel this service when I called in this morning, & all of your Techniques of Manipulation, attempted twisting of my words, & unwillingness to Cut to the part where we CANCEL the service have only served to harden me to the idea of EVER using, let alone recommending the TiVO service to ANYONE?”

To which Andrew replied, “I just can’t see why you won’t keep this great service at the great price with the great deal I’m offering you.”

Oh goodness. Breathe. And I realize I’m upset. Frustrated. On-the-verge of snap-age. Over TiVo. But its not about the TiVo. Its more about the discomfort of conflict. The feelings of being manipulated & not having my “No!” heeded. Anger at the part of me that wants to give in, to make Mr. Andrew happy, pay more money for a service I no longer need. Just to make the conversation stop.

Asking God to examine my heart.

And in other news, I’ve been reading a book by Philip Yancey called
Disappointment with God. Only about 1/4 of the way into it & already I’m hooked. What has stood out to me the most so far is Yancey’s observation about the correlation (or lack thereof) between displays of God’s power (the ‘mighty hand & outstretched arm’) & the devotion, love, faithfulness, & obedience of His people, Israel.

You’d think that the result of God’s miraculous provision, protection, deliverance, & presence would have been the undying, unwavering love & devotion of the people that He provided for, protected, delivered, & dwelled with. Surprisingly, what actually happened was that Israel complained & grumbled. Chased idols. Mistrusted. Wished for a return to the good old days of slavery in Egypt. Rebelled against their God-appointed leader. And God.

Makes me think about Jesus in the Gospels, & how He would heal, & then tell those that had been healed not to say anything about it. For the longest time, I never really understood why He would do that. In my mind, it seemed that these signs, wonders, & miracles would serve to point to Christ as the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Promised Saviour… & that people would have had even more reason to believe in Him because there was evidence of His power & might backing up His words.

But when I read through the gospels, there were many, many miracles that Jesus did. Turned water into wine. Raised the dead. Fed 5000 people with 2 fish & 5 loaves of bread. Healed every kind of disease. Was transfigured & transformed, revealed in all His glory. Was crucified & buried, then was resurrected from the dead. Was taken into heaven in the full view of hundreds of people.

And the result? Lots of crowds, not many disciples. Lots of people, the multitudes, the religious leaders , & even a king, continually asked Him to perform more signs.

Maybe what we’re looking for, what we think we need from God, isn’t really what we actually need in order to be faithful. To love God. To obey. To persevere. And the signs we hope for (pray for? wish for?) wouldn’t really be the ‘thing’ to put us over the edge, the short-cut to being able to live it.

Sigh. Gonna ponder & meditate on it.

And for the 1st time in more than a month, my whole family is home, together, at the same time. Pizza Plus for all! Booyah.

Life is beautiful.