Not for ticks. Or ants. Or mice. Just sayin'.
I kept itching and scratching throughout the lunch, feeling a million more ticks. The first thing I did when I got home was to strip, ask Joel to take my clothes immediately to the washer, and check my back... I found another tick on my shin. It was just beginning to burrow. And I hadn't even felt it.
Sunday morning, everyone was talking about ticks. In their hair. In the children's hair. It must be spring. But when we sat around the table and talked about the readings, it was about Creation stories. It was about why we gathered on Sunday mornings instead of the Sabbath. It was about how the gospel used the second creation story in scripture --God as the gardener of the vine.
"What about dinosaurs," one of the teens asks.
"What about dinosaurs," I respond.
"They aren't mentioned in the bible."
"Really?" I say. "What part doesn't mention them?"
"Did they all die in the flood?"
"Well --I think the ones that could swim or fly survived," I say laughing.
"Where are they, then?"
"Look," I say, and point out the window at the turkey crossing the road.
In the late afternoon service, I get to hold all the babies. Four of them. Two have been baptized; the grandmas talk about the other two. The other children come and go. Some crying --I was pushed-- --she's being mean-- --they won't let me play-- The proper clucking noises are made by the grandmas and the 'oh no' is said with great gentleness.
We sit in a circle to talk about the readings. Big questions. About love. About how to talk about Jesus. One grandma says she is mocked at work --her co-workers don't want her to say anything about Jesus. Don't want her to play gospel music at work. When she plays the CD of her family singing the hymns, that is okay because it is in Lakota and her co-worker can't understand what is being sung... .
"But I want them to know," she said. "I want them to know the peace I feel. Am I doing wrong by not talking about it? You know, when Jesus said he would deny anyone who denies him. Am I denying him by not talking about it?"
"I don't know," I said. "But, I do know that I, too, have been offended by people trying to convert me to their way of thinking. Trying to tell me I'm not a Christian because I don't think like they do. So, I try not to shove what I believe in front of others. None of us likes to be told what we should think. So, what has been placed in my heart is patience. Patient waiting. Which is sometimes really hard. I wait for them to ask. I wait for the sign --the open place, to do something. Like, in pastoral care, I know and see something is wrong. But I don't go putting my nose in it. I wait. I pray. That is what God has put in my heart."
There is some nodding. Some chins are down. It is thoughtful. And then we say our prayers. And after I hold up the cup and the bread, after the great Amen, I stop and say that it is really wonderful to think about the fruit of the vine on this day, especially after that gospel lesson. The vine, the branches, the fruit....
And I don't remember how I finished that sentence because the sun slanted in the window and turned the world in to a soft hue of golden pink, one of the babies cried, and the grandpa by the door got up to go get all the children that had played outside while we prayed in the small building overlooking the river running dry between the cliffs. It was time. Time to eat the bread and wine. Time to eat the sun and moon and stars. Time to eat our mother earth. Time for all the children to come in and be fed. Time to be one with the cosmos. With life itself.
At prayer this morning (from Wisdom 9)
“With you is wisdom, she who knows your works
and was present when you made the world;
she understands what is pleasing in your sight
and what is right according to your commandments.
Send her forth from the holy heavens,
and from the throne of your glory send her,
that she may labor at my side,
and that I may learn what is pleasing to you.
For she knows and understands all things,
and she will guide me
and guard me with her glory.
Then my works will be acceptable...
For who can learn the counsel of God?
Or who can discern what the Lord wills?
For the reasoning of mortals is worthless,
and our designs are likely to fail;
for a perishable body weighs down the soul,
and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.
We can hardly guess at what is on earth,
and what is at hand we find with labor;
but who has traced out what is in the heavens?
Who has learned your counsel,
unless you have given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus the paths of those on earth were set right,
and people were taught what pleases you,
and were saved by wisdom.”
Also (Luke 7:36-50)
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.Dinosaurs.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.”
“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.”
And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
So many babies.
And so many other delightfully dangerous things.
Speaking of Jesus in a world that is so full of judgment.
God the gardener. Tending it all.
Off I go.