The Dump

Come with me, to the dump.

It’s a place you might just as soon avoid.

Did I mention, this is your dump?  Your dumping ground.

It stinks.

Over there, that pile?  That’s all the trash you’ve cleaned out of all your cars.

Back next to us is all the recyclable stuff that you didn’t recycle.

The huge, smelly pile in distance?  Leftovers you never got around to eating.

That’s not all.  There are piles of frowns that you caused other people to make.  And a big heap of opportunities you’ve wasted.

And look — towering over most of the rest of the piles is a mountain of lies you’ve told.

It’s all here.  It’s all laid out.  Every sin you’ve ever committed.

Every time you let God or your neighbor down.  Or yourself.

What a mess.  And believe me, I’ve got a dump, too.  Overflowing with disobedience and shamefulness.

What can be done with all of this?  Have we scarred the face of the Earth forever? Is this wretched dump the real reflection of who we are?

Wait.  Over there, coming over the hill, is a man.  Jesus.  Carrying a great big trash bag.

And as he walks, he scoops up your mess.   Great big gobs of it.  Way more than should fit in a single bag, but still he stuffs.

Rapidly he makes his way through your dump, shoving down broken promises, misplaced anger, even the grossest, wettest sins that lay hidden deep underneath the rest.

Stumbling under the weight of it all, Jesus passes by, a distant look on his face.

“Father, forgive them”, he says, heading off to another poor soul’s dump. “They don’t know what they are doing”.

And then we’re left in this empty space, once covered by your sin.

Underneath it all, there appears to be a garden.  I assume that’s true of my dump, as well.

A garden.

Are we prepared?  Are we prepared to tend our gardens?

Have a Holy Week,

Mitch

 

Low Hanging Allergies

food-allergies-and-me-book

 

There you are, in the middle of the Garden of Eden.

It’s beautiful here!

Ah, but there, in the distance, is the tree of the knowledge of good evil.

God has told you you must not eat of this tree, or you will surely die.

You walk over to the tree, and there, dangling from it, in all their glory…

are Green Peppers.

Green Peppers?  Well, yes– if you’re my mom reading this, anyway.

Maybe for you the tree offers peanuts.  Or wheat.  Or shellfish.

Here’s my new theory:

I think the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (or the TOTKOGAE, as I like to call it) is filled with whatever food you’re allergic to or intolerant of.

Can you imagine?  There, right in the center of your otherwise beautiful life, this display of things that will make you sick?  Taunting you to try just a little.

(When the food itself taunts you, who needs a serpent?)

By the way, this devotion sprang to my mind as I contemplated the food I ate yesterday.  Among other things, I had peanuts, fish, wheat, gluten, eggs, sugar, onions, green peppers, and plenty of dairy.  My diet yesterday could have knocked out more than a dozen people I know.

I guess I’m lucky not to be plagued by food allergies, but I realize what a constant strain they can be on people I care about.

For some, having a food allergy/intolerance means just being a little more selective about what they eat.

For others, it requires a meal-by-meal hyper vigilance.

For some, the consequence of taking a bite off of the “fruit” of that tree is an upset stomach or a rash or an itchy nose.

For others, it’s an epipen or a trip to the ER.

No matter the severity of the reaction, the question that comes to my mind is, “Why, God, did you make all this cool edible stuff, and then make it dangerous to eat?”

Well, I think science may have an elaborate and detailed theory about why food allergies develop across cultures and centuries. My theological answer is somewhat simpler:

Everyone interacts with our world a little differently, but God interacts with each of us in the same way.  God loves us, and wants us to have a full experience on this planet.

Maybe God put up the TOFTKOGAE to remind us of the need to live within our individual limits, that joy comes from living deliberately and wisely.

That’s a good notion for all of us…

And you know what?

If Adam and Eve had taken the time to find out that they were allergic to apples,

It might have been a little easier,

to resist temptation.

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