As I read the three scriptures of this day (Psalm 25: 1-10 (again!), Psalm 32, Matthew 9:2-13)
I saw a parallel. And it is this -our God is not only present, healing and forgiving, but also instructing.
"Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way." Psalm 25:8
"I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." Psalm 32:8
"God and learn what this means, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners." Matthew 9:13
And so I read these scriptures and think about learning. And understand that the walk of faith is life long learning about "the way" of God. A different way that has to be taught and re taught over and over again.
I have this wonderful book called "Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life" and it reminds me of the blessing of a life of openness and awareness to whatever God is trying to teach us in every moment of our lives. The book quotes David A Cooper, a rabbi and retreat leader: "In the end, everyone is our teacher, on one lever or another. The child is our teacher, our friends, our family; the stranger on the street. Every experience is a challenge; a teaching is always hidden in it. Every thought that bubbles up in our minds can teach us things about ourselves - if we are able to listen."
Yesterday the kids were home from school again because of the cold temperatures. Reagan spent the day with a friend, so I called Addie and asked her if she wanted to come with me to the movies. Her choice of movie and it was a tough choice for her between "SpongeBob" and "Paddington." She chose Paddington and afterwards we walked around the mall a little bit - she bought some nails and lipstick at Claires and I bought a candle at the Bed, Bath and Body. As I watched her in Claires move from jewelry to makeup to scarves to purses in wonder and heard her chatter about various things, I keep seeing how she teaches me to slow down and enjoy just the beauty and creativity and wonder of little things I would otherwise ignore.
And then I go home to Chuck who is still not feeling all that well and yet he gets out and goes and comes home with treasures and bargains for our house. There is a childlike joy to this 79 year old man that I learn from and cherish.
When I was in the Wellstreams program I learned that in spiritual direction we should look at everyone and say - what is the gift of this person for me? what do they have to teach me? And I understand - when I am in my healthiest and holiest version of Margot - that I can ask that question about everyone.
Here is another quote from the book: "Teachers are all around you. Watch for them, remembering the wise counsel of the second-century Jewish sage Ben Assai: "Treat no one lightly and think nothing is useless, for everyone has a moment and everything has its place."
Today I think about the instruction of God that is constant for any of us who are paying attention. And I also know - and probably most importantly know - that Jesus is wanting me to pay attention and keep learning about this WAY. And live humbly knowing that there is more to learn. As I begin another day of cold and snow in central Ohio, I hope I can remember his words: Go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
I will end this with a Blessing from Maxine Shonk
May you be blessed by the God of MERCY who forgives you, beckons you, and gives you courage to know your dependence on the One who possesses you.
May you know God's love in the face of fear and failure, brokenness and pain. May your readiness to forgive others bring them to trust more deeply in the compassion and mercy of God.
May the blessing of MERCY be on you.