The birds are singing joyously, with new songs and new delight. Stopping and listening to the apparent quiet makes one realize how much activity the natural world is engaging in this morning. The sky is bright blue, the weather on the warm side of cool. It is a day for a picnic or a long hike, a day for praise and hope.
It is definitely a day to put aside the distractions which weigh one down and renew the trail ever upwards.
I realized my own distractions yesterday had become a heavy weight around my ankles, keeping me bogged down in minuciae unable to focus and unable to ascend the heights.
It is common to think only in terms of black and white, sin or not sin. The Scriptures don’t seem to be as narrow. There is sin and then there is ‘unclean’. ‘Unclean’ is not sin but it keeps us from God. There is a spiritual reality to our lives and activities which can be important and yet still remove us from the close presence of the Spirit in our midst. By dwelling overlong in the ‘unclean’ we lose the connection and lose the inspiration which the Spirit longs for us to have.
The law delineated the clean and unclean, showing that which is kosher and that which is not. With Christ and the Spirit, however, we are not bound to the Law as formed in millenia past. Peter was told to get up and eat that which was unclean as a sign that the old standards were no longer effective guides. Yet, rather than having a checklist we have something more complicated… the work of the Spirit in and through us who guides and directs towards and away.
What is right for some is not right for others, what is a blessing to many is a curse to a few, what I might be called to do you might be called to not do. By doing that which is not within our calling or purpose, even if it is good and respectable in itself, is engaging in uncleanness. Clean and unclean are not determined by the law but by obedience to the Spirit in each of us.
I realized that I was sunk in a mire of uncleanness the other day. My uncleanness is a fascination for current events, a love for politics, a desire to keep up with the world even as I’m rather removed from it. The internet does not just encourage blatant sin… it also encourages the uncleanness of disobedience by giving unlimited information on any side trail we would wish to take.
I wasn’t reading theology, I was reading CNN. I wasn’t studying the early church because I was reading the newest commentary from political pundits.
The fact is I have nothing to offer the world of politics. There are those who have much more training, much more insight, much more passion to talk about the present decisions of various governments. I have only the qualification of being a US citizen. So, by investing in this I invest in that which is weak within me, and miss out on investing in that which is strong. I do that which I am not trained in instead of pursuing that which I can offer uniquely to this world.
But, it’s addictive. I love to know, and learn, and participate in that which seems to matter. But, it does not reflect my calling, learning, or joy. So, I have to change pace, renew my call, restore the purpose for which all paths in my life have led. Thus, I uninstalled my web browser… and while I give up a very good research tool I help myself restore the purity of the calling within me.
“But I’m not sinning” is a comment that has led many people to confusion and hell methinks. It is all about obedience, and pursuing the Spirit in us which brings light.
This is a lesson I am learning this morning… once again. Someday I’ll get it right and be able to move onto new lessons.