this looks familiar

February 8, 2011

I was sorting through some old stuff recently and came across a picture of Diane and me sitting in someone’s kitchen.  I looked at the picture for at least two minutes, checked the back for any identifying handwriting – I didn’t recognize that right away either.  The place was vaguely familiar but nothing triggered the right memory, not even the handwriting on the back.

The handwriting was my mother’s, and the place was the kitchen table at my parents house.  Once I recognized it I was dumbfounded that I had been so thick.  I sat at that table. that very spot, daily for more than ten years.

It was the oddest thing.   My parents put an addition on our home when I was eight years old, which included that kitchen.  I ate at it every day until I moved out.  Yet it was only vaguely familiar, I couldn’t immediately place it.  Early onset Alzheimer’s?

When I had ruminated on it for a while it finally dawned on me.  The reason I did not recognize the place immediately was because of me.  I was the unfamiliar part of the picture.  I had never seen me there before.  Every other member of my family, sure, but not me.  My mental camera always excludes me from the pictures my mind takes.

But it got me to thinking and questioning, what other familiar things in our life become unfamiliar, and why.  Do we get so used to church, for instance, that we take it for granted?  Or is church, like God’s mercy, new every morning.    Do we get so used to reading our Bibles that it becomes like the back of a cereal box?  (Do people still sit and read the cereal box like we used to in that kitchen that I didn’t remember?)  Or is God’s Word fresh, alive and sharper than any two-edged sword?   De we take Grace for granted or do we live lives of constant gratitude?

When we sit down are read the Word, how often do we remind ourselves that we have been written into that story? Although I have been a Follower for close to 40 years, there is still freshness in so many aspects.  Some stories still make the hair on my neck stand up. I still get excited when a child chooses to Follow.  I still am awestruck by John 3:16, Luke 2 and Mark 4.

I hope I never tire of hearing (or reading) the story in Acts chapter three of Peter healing the beggar, of Joshua commanding the armies to march silently, Of Jesus rising on the third day.

Yes, the application of some of the principles found is the Bible take work.  Yes I need to regularly ask and answer the question, “What’s that got to do with me?” Maybe that’s what keeps it fresh.  Familiar.  Recognizable.

So if my mom reads this blog (HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Never mind.)  I’m sorry it took so long to recognize my family kitchen.  Maybe it’s because I was always looking at the food. It probably has something to do with the five years that have lapsed since I sat there.

But I am glad that pictures of Redemption stay fresh.

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