Breakfast is on the stove. I have Irish style oats simmering. Cranberries, ginger and cinnamon liven it up quite a bit. I'll add a little honey and butter to it before I serve. Bacon is frying in a pan. Thick cut. Uncured. The savory and the sweet must come together for me. And then there's caffeine. I made espresso this morning. Just a little in my steamed milk. It's a latte of sorts. Authentic? No. Still, I'm happy with it. This rainy morning in the suburbs of Chicago demands rich flavors.
I have a full day of chores planned. Since I am not preaching tomorrow, I feel like I can finally get to some things in the parsonage that need to be done. I need to swap out the screens for the storm windows. The garden could use a little attention. We had a cold snap while Trish and I were away in New Orleans. I hope the geranium survived. I'll bring it in and see if it recovers. I love geraniums. They are my favorite flowering plant.
You may have read the previous post on hospitality. I posted it on Facebook as well as this blog (How much longer can this blog live?). It received a few comments there that are worth thinking about. The line that drew the most attention was "We are hospitable because the alternative is soul crushing." One or two people liked it. One or two people thought it was too reminiscent of "be good or go to Hell." I can respect that. I can see how one might make that connection.
Does anyone use the term "backsliding" anymore? Maybe in some corners of the hills of Virginia they do. Maybe in Hammond, Indiana. Who knows. I bring the term up because it reminds me of a dynamic in our journey with God that is important to remember. Sometimes we don't want to see as God sees. Sometimes, even after meeting Jesus on our own Damascus road, we just don't feel like loving people. We don't want to be hospitable. There can be a thousand reasons why. But for the purposes of this post, the reasons are unimportant.
I have faith in God. I have met the God of Love. I have felt Love that made me weep in joy. Then, the very next day, I have simply decided that it's too much work to live as if that love were real. Sometimes it's easier to believe that there is no God and that there is nothing, no karma, no grace, that makes being hospitable worth all the effort. No experience of the Divine in prayer, in work, in worship, in community has ever really erased this tension for me.
It is possible to believe in God and be an arse anyway. It is possible to live in contradiction to God and firmly believe God is real. Well, I find it possible. But I also find that it is it's own kind of work. My heart hardens and my soul shrinks. Living life inhospitably is soul crushing. That is something Tradition teaches and something I have experienced to be true. You will likely draw your own conclusions or already have. I just needed to share this part of my own soul's journey.
Blessings on your day. I've cranberries calling to me!