I have a love/hate relationship with our junk drawer. I know its pretty much a reality of life – that one drawer where stuff just gets piled in – tissue packs, lighters, cables, Carmex, multitool, a golf ball, a tape measure and the list goes on. I wish ours was more organized but its not quite and probably never will be. But the last few days have been junk drawers of inpiration days for me. What I mean by that is that there have just been a bunch of little things that have been blessings that may not all fit together but have been inspirational and necessary nonetheless.
It started with part of the Joseph story in Genesis from my daily readings. Coming to the end of the story, Jacob/Israel has come down to Egypt and has been reunited with his (thought to be dead) son, Joseph, only to find that Joseph has been elevated #2 person in Egypt. As Israel is nearing the end of his life, he calls Joseph to his bedside to bless not only Joseph but also Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. I have read these passages many times, but not until this time did I hear a message about welcoming the stranger, the one who is not “of us” and making them a part of the whole.
And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.’ Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. (Genesis 48:3-5)
In a time where we are separating ourselves more and more and isolating ourselves more and more, this passage speaks into the command we read throughout Scripture that we are to welcome the alien, the stranger, the refugee, the oppressed. I was talking to a friend of mine this morning about this (he’s also a Rabbi) and he said that there was a saying in Judaism that every time you turn the Torah over, you hear something new. Amen.
This tied in with a challenge included in the devotion that was part two of the junk drawer…from Basil of Caesarea, a 4th century monk…
“Are you not a robber, you who consider your own that which has been given you solely to distribute to others? This bread which you have set aside is the bread of the hungry; this garment you have locked away is the clothing of the naked; those shoes which you let rot are the shoes of him who is barefoot; those riches you have hoarded are the riches of the poor.”
Another part of the junk drawer of inspiration – a prayer that came out of my daily reading this morning (taken from Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals).
The first from Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish mystic…
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing dismay you. All things are passing, God never changes. Patient endurance attains all things. God alone suffices.”
The message of patience endurance really rang true with me. When we want so much so fast, we want things resolved immediately, we don’t want to wait…God speaks about patience and enduring and then we see the movement of God.
And then the third piece of junk drawer inspiration for today – also from my devotion this morning… the closing prayer…
Lord, before the heat of the noonday comes, we are already feeling as though our lives are not full enough. Instill in us this morning the assurance that you are enough for us, God. Your love, your call, your work, is enough. Amen
Enough. Yes. In life that feels like a junk drawer filled with so much stuff…a reminder that God’s love, God’s call, God’s work…its enough. Yes. Amen.